I have to go, insists Rahul
CWC rejects his offer to quit
New Delhi: Smarting under the second consecutive debacle in the Lok Sabha elections, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday offered to resign taking moral responsibility for the defeat but was rejected 'unanimously' by the Congress Working Committee, which consists of 52 members.
However, Rahul Gandhi was adamant on resigning even after his offer was unanimously rejected by the CWC, which authorised him to do a complete overhaul and restructuring of the party at every level.
He held the top post for nearly a year and a half after he took the job from his mother Sonia Gandhi.
"We have to continue our fight. I am and will remain a disciplined soldier of the Congress and continue to fight fearlessly. But I do not want to remain the party president.
It is not necessary that the president should be from Gandhi family," Rahul Gandhi reportedly said.
The Congress said it "needs him", spokespersons and representatives said at a briefing that Rahul Gandhi was firm on quitting as Congress' chief and to function as a party worker. Rahul Gandhi did not say a word as he left the meeting.
The party's big dilemma is -- If not Rahul Gandhi, then who? The Congress has rarely looked beyond the Nehru-Gandhi family for leadership, against all reason.
At the three-hour long meeting, Rahul Gandhi reportedly spelt-out various options including having a working president who will be from outside the Gandhi family.
He is also said to have urged the party leaders not to seek such a role for his sister Priyanka.
However, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, who addressed a press conference after the meeting, dismissed reports in this connection, saying that there is no truth in the speculation that Rahul Gandhi asked for a non-Gandhi to be made president of party.
"The CWC unanimously called upon the Congress president Rahul Gandhi to lead the party in this ideological battle and to champion the cause of India's youth, the farmers, the SC/ST/OBC's, the minorities, the poor and the deprived sections," the resolution said.
Sources say Rahul Gandhi's mother Sonia Gandhi and sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tried to persuade him to change his mind. Finally, they said it was his decision.