The Congress on Saturday said that reports of Congress president Rahul Gandhi offering to resign from his post are incorrect.
Rejecting reports of the resignation, party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting is still on.
It was earlier reported that the CWC rejected Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s offer of resignation after a miserable show of the grand old party in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections.
Gandhi lost the family’s traditional bastion Amethi to BJP leader Smriti Irani by a margin of over 55,000 votes. He, however, managed to enter Parliament with a record victory from Kerala’s Wayanad.
The CWC met on Saturday to discuss the reasons for the party’s dismal performance across the country in the Lok Sabha elections 2019. The Congress could win only 52 seats, three short of the number required to elect a Leader of Opposition in the lower house.
Besides Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi, senior Congress leaders P Chidambaram, RPN Singh, PL Punia, Motilal Vora, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge were present.
Also present were Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh and former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah.
Only four of the 23 CWC members won in the just concluded elections – Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Gaurav Gogoi and A Chella Kumar.
Twelve CWC members lost the polls, including heavyweights like Mallikarjun Kharge, former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Raghuveer Singh Meena, Jitin Prasada, Deepender Hooda, Sushmita Dev, KH Muniyappa and Arun Yadav.
Seven CWC members did not participate in the Lok Sabha elections this year.
Congress won only 3 seats in three states – Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh – where it formed governments in December 2018.
But Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath skipped the meeting. Reports say that he explained his absence citing the need to protect Congress MLAs in Madhya Pradesh.
A slew of resignations came in on Friday. Congress Uttar Pradesh in-charge Raj Babbar resigned from the post, along with campaign committee chief HK Patil, Odisha party chief Niranjan Patnaik and Amethi District Congress President Yogendra Misra.
Patnaik, who himself contested from Bhandaripokhari and Ghasipura Assembly constituencies, sent his resignation to Gandhi on Friday.
“I too had contested the election. Party had given me a responsibility. I take the moral responsibility for this debacle and relinquish this job. I’ve communicated it to my AICC President,” the 72-year-old said.
Even his son, Nabajyoti Das, lost from Balasore Lok Sabha seat as the BJP and the BJD captured the assembly and parliamentary constituencies in the state.
Patil, too, sent his resignation to Gandhi stating that it was “time for all of us to introspect”.
The BJP registered massive victory in Karnataka winning 25 of the 28 seats. The Congress-JD(S) coalition which won two seats was reduced to one after Prajwal Revanna tendered his resignation soon after winning from Hassan. Revanna, the grandson of HD Deve Gowda, took the decision after his grandfather and party chief lost the election from Tumkur.
On the other hand, the BJP-led NDA won 64 of the 80 LS seats in Uttar Pradesh, fending off an alliance of SP-BSP-RLD and reducing Congress to just one seat. Babbar took “moral responsibility” of the Congress defeat in the state.
The debacle was discussed in the CWC meeting today. Reports say that the leaders also took note of the challenge to keep the flock together in states like Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, where efforts were on to destabilise the government.
The BJP-led returned to power with a massive majority of 351 votes, of which 303 were of BJP alone.