Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said he was no longer the Congress president and had submitted his resignation, PTI reported.
“Party should decide on the new president quickly without further delay, I am nowhere in this process,” ANI quoted Gandhi as saying. “CWC [Congress Working Committee] should convene a meeting at the earliest and decide.”
In a statement posted on Twitter, Gandhi said as Congress president he was responsible for the party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha elections. “Accountability is critical for the future growth of our party,” he said. “It is for this reason that I have resigned as Congress president.”
Gandhi said though party colleagues had asked him to nominate the next Congress chief, it would not be correct for him to select the person. “Immediately after resigning, I suggested to my colleagues in the Congress Working Committee that the way forward would be to entrust a group of people with the task of beginning the search for a new president,” he said, adding that he would provide his full support to the process and ensure a smooth transition.
Gandhi said the Congress must “radically transform itself”. “Today the BJP is systematically crushing the voice of the Indian people,” he said. “It is the duty of the Congress party to defend these voices.”
The Congress president thanked his supporters and said he would continue to fight for the “ideals of the Congress party with all my strength”. “It is a habit in India that the powerful cling to power, no one sacrifices power,” he said. “But we will not defeat our opponents without sacrificing the desire for power and fighting a deeper ideological battle.” Gandhi also removed the “Congress President” title from his Twitter account description.
Gandhi had offered to step down as Congress president on May 25 after the party managed to win only 52 of 543 parliamentary seats in the Lok Sabha elections. Though the Congress Working Committee unanimously rejected his resignation, Gandhi remained firm on his decision. Several top leaders have urged Gandhi to continue leading the party.
On Monday, Gandhi met the chief ministers of the five Congress-led states, who asked him to reconsider his decision. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had said they were hoping for a “positive decision” after the meeting.
Over the last week, several Congress leaders have resigned from their posts to give Gandhi a free hand to choose a new team. Working presidents of Delhi and Telangana Pradesh Congress committees, General Secretary in charge of Madhya Pradesh Deepak Babaria, All India Congress Committee secretaries Virender Rathore, Anil Choudhury and Rajesh Dharmani, and Foreign Cell Secretary Virender Vashist resigned on June 28. The day before, Congress leader Vivek Tankha had quit as the party’s chairperson for law and Right to Information cell.
Kisan Congress President Nana Patole and 36 office-bearers of Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee resigned on June 29 after taking moral responsibility for the party’s election defeat.