However, sources said that Mr Gandhi continues to be the Congress president till the CWC formally accepts his resignation letter.
New Delhi: The speculation over Rahul Gandhi remaining Congress president finally came to an end on Wednesday as he released a formal resignation letter in which he gave strong indications that others in the party should also follow suit.
Under the Congress constitution, the seniormost general secretary, which in this case is Motilal Vora, the 90-year old former party treasurer, will be the working president of the party till the next meeting of the Congress Working Committee is called. Sources said that the next CWC meeting will be called as early as next week due to the “unprecedented” circumstances. The Congress constitution also deems that in such circumstances, the CWC gets powers to take any decision, which then needs to be ratified by the AICC within the next six months. However, sources said that Mr Gandhi continues to be the Congress president till the CWC formally accepts his resignation letter.
AICC general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal has already started calling up members of the CWC in order to decide on a date for the meeting. Thus, whoever is selected as Congress president by the CWC will have to be ratified by the AICC in the next six months or if elections are held for the position. Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, former Union minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Karnataka leader Mallikarjun Kharge are among the frontrunners.
Incidentally, it is not necessary for Mr Gandhi to attend the meeting. Mr Gandhi has said time and again since the May 25 meeting that he would not be part of the process to select a new Congress president.
The formal letter of resignation comes over a month after he had made his intent to quit clear at a stocktaking meeting of the CWC after the Lok Sabha results, with the Congress suffering a major debacle.
In the four-page letter released on Twitter, Mr Gandhi asked the Congress Working Committee to entrust a group of people with the task of finding a new president as it would not be proper for him to do so, and stressed on the need for the Congress to “radically transform itself”.
Probably for the first time officially, Mr Gandhi said that rebuilding the party would require “hard decisions” and that many people would have to be made accountable, apart from himself.
“As president of the Congress Party, I am responsible for the loss of the 2019 election. Accountability is critical for the future growth of our party. It is for this reason that I have resigned as Congress president. Rebuilding the party requires hard decisions and numerous people will have to be made accountable for the failure of 2019. It would be unjust to hold others accountable but ignore my own responsibility as president of the party,” he said.
At the May 25 CWC meeting, Mr Gandhi is understood to have directly blamed Mr Gehlot, Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath and senior leader P. Chidambaram for seeking tickets for their sons.
The Wayanad MP said he had personally fought Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the RSS and the institutions they have captured with all his being. “I fought because I love India... At times I stood completely alone and am extremely proud of it. The stated objectives of the RSS, the capture of our country’s institutional structure, is now complete. Our democracy has been fundamentally weakened. There is a real danger that from now on (that) elections will go from being a determinant of India’s future to a mere ritual.”
The letter goes on to say that this capture of power will result in “unimaginable levels of violence and pain for India”, while alleging that the PM’s win does not negate the “breadth of corruption allegations against him”. The Indian nation must unite to reclaim and resuscitate its institutions, and the instrument of this resuscitation will be the Congress, he said: “To achieve this important task, the Congress Party must radically transform itself. Today the BJP is systematically crushing the voice of the Indian people. It is the duty of the Congress Party to defend these voices. India has never and will never be one voice. It is and always will be a symphony of voices. That is the true essence of Bharat Mata.”
He added that he did not fight a political party in the 2019 election but the entire machinery of the Indian State.
Since his resignation, the party saw prolonged drama with senior leaders requesting him to continue, while demonstrations were held in front of the AICC office and many junior party functionaries quit.