The grand old Congress party is in crisis. Almost a week after the humiliating defeat it faced on May 23 in the Lok Sabha elections, when it slumped to its worst performance ever – winning just 52 of the 542 seats in the lower house of Parliament, the Lok Sabha – the Indian National Congress is in a state of drift.
It seems that Congress president Rahul Gandhi has made up his mind and is adamant on resigning as the party chief. Though the Congress chief has made his decision after the party's crushing defeat in the recently concluded general elections, party leaders are still planning to ask him to reconsider the matter.
The top brass of the Congress party including Priyanka Gandhi, Ashok Gehlot, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Sachin Pilot and Rahul's trusted aide KC Venugopal met Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday (May 28) at his residence to discuss the massive crisis that has hit the party.
Several names have been doing the rounds after Rahul Gandhi asked his party members to look for his replacement. Three prominent names among them are of Kerala MP Shashi Tharoor, Congress general secretary of eastern UP Priyanka Gandhi and Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. Captain Amarinder Singh won in Punjab despite the Narendra Modi wave in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections. Congress won eight seats in Punjab. Also, former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor won from Thiruvananthapuram with a margin of 99,989 votes.
Earlier, The Congress leader told the Congress Working Committee that he would like to exit as its top boss nearly a year and a half after he took the job from his mother and UPA chairperson 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 chief," said Rahul Gandhi.
The party leaders reportedly protested Gandhi's statement saying: "If not you, then who?" However, when Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's name popped up, Rahul said: "Don't drag my sister into it." He went on to add that it is not necessary that the president should be from Gandhi family.
52 candidates got elected out of 421 across the country from 18 states and union territories, marking the second dismal performance by the party in the second successive national elections after 2014. Despite a fierce campaign led by Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, Congress was relegated to a meagre 52 seats. After a humiliating comedown for Congress that was once a political colossus, the party's footprint across India is shrinking rapidly as it is without a strong base anywhere in the country.