The Congress party is suffering from a “leadership crisis”. It seems that there is no competent leader in the country’s oldest party who can be a binding force for its unity and lead it to a new high. That is why over 120 Congress office bearers resigned in a mass to force Rahul Gandhi to give up the decision to quit as the party President. These Congress leaders have resigned in mass to support Rahul Gandhi and allow him a free hand to choose a new team. Gandhi family is believed to be the undisputed power centre of Congress which can keep the party workers and the leaders united while avoiding factionalism within the party. No one dares to challenge its supremacy.
Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe told Afternoon Voice, “Congress workers feel that Rahul Gandhi has worked hard for the sake of the party. It is our fault that we did not work so hard and failed up to his expectations. We want that he must continue as the Congress President. Taking the responsibility of the defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, the party leaders have resigned in mass and we have given Rahul Gandhi a free hand to constitute a team of his choice. The President of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee Ashok Chavan was first to submit his resignation from Maharashtra. The Chairman of Kisan Khet Mazdoor Congress Nana Patole has also resigned.”
It is remarkable that after suffering severe drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on May 25 announced his decision to quit as party chief. Many senior party leaders requested him not to resign and reconsider his decision. His resignation offer was unanimously rejected by the Congress Working Committee. However, Rahul Gandhi remained unfazed. Rahul Gandhi became the party President in 2017. The Congress won only 52 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which is just eight more the lowest tally of 44 in 2014 polls. Rahul Gandhi himself lost elections from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh although he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Wayanad in Kerala.
According to party sources, all the Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled states will meet Rahul Gandhi on Monday, urging him to take back his decision to resign from the post of party President. Chief Ministers of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Puducherry, and Punjab will meet Gandhi at the party headquarters in the national capital. Karnataka Deputy Chief Ministers G Parameshwara is also likely to come for the meet. The Chief Ministers are also likely to discuss the mass resignations taking place in the party. A meeting of CWC will be called to decide on a new party chief. Ahead of this meeting, more resignations are likely at the party.
Congress leader Karuna Shukla said, “Mass resignation is an expression of feelings of the Congress workers. They have taken the responsibility of debacle on the recent Lok Sabha elections. At the same, party workers will accept the final decision of Rahul Gandhi, whatsoever it may be.”
The resignation spree started on Thursday night when Vivek Tankha quit from the post of the party’s Chairman for Law and RTI cell. After this, many leaders from Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, and Haryana also resigned from their posts.
In a series of tweets on Friday, Vivek Tankha said, “We all should submit our resignations from party positions and give Rahul a free hand to choose his team… Party cannot afford a stalemate for too long.” Earlier, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath has said that he had offered to resign as the state Congress chief after the party’s debacle in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections. Prominent party leaders who resigned include Haryana Women Congress chief Sumitra Chouhan, General Secretary Netta P Sangma of Meghalaya, Secretary Virender Rathore, Chhattisgarh Secretary Anil Chaudhary, Madhya Pradesh Secretary Sudhir Chaudhary and Haryana Secretary Satyavir Yadav.
The Congress dissolved all district committees of its Uttar Pradesh unit and formed a three-member disciplinary committee to look into acts of gross indiscipline and anti-party activities during the Lok Sabha elections.
On the other hand, the BJP leader Tom Vadakkan said that mass resignation in the Congress is part of ‘scripted drama’. Tom Vadakkan was in the Congress and he was the party’s spokesperson. He joined the BJP in March this year, just ahead of 17th Lok Sabha election.
The Congress party’s spokesperson Pawan Khera said that the entire organisation, in one voice, wants its President Rahul Gandhi to continue in the post. Whatever be Rahul Gandhi’s final decision in this regard, mass resignation has created a scene that Congress is in crisis. In this difficult time, Rahul Gandhi should give up the idea of his resignation.
The Congress does not need mass resignation for its revival but the party leaders should ensure mass support so that the party can be a vital political force in India and lead the country. Assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana, and Jharkhand are to be held later this year. The Congress party and its leaders should concentrate on these elections.
Rajesh Choudhary & Vijay Panchal