NEW DELHI: The chorus of voices urging Rahul Gandhi not to quit as Congress president grows louder with leaders of the party and also allies DMK and the RJD saying he remains the “best and competent” person to pull the party out of the crisis after the Lok Sabha poll debacle.
Adding to the voices in the opposition UPA against Gandhi’s offer to resign, Tamil superstar Rajinikanth said the Congress chief should stay on as he was a “youngster” and perhaps not got the cooperation of senior party leaders.
DMK chief M K Stalin appealed to Gandhi not to step down, saying he has won the hearts of the people though his party lost the elections while RJD supremo Lalu Prasad termed the offer to quit as “suicidal”, asserting it would amount to “falling into the BJP’s trap”.
Stalin spoke to Gandhi over phone and “appealed to him to give up the idea of resigning as party president”, a DMK statement said in Chennai.
After his party’s colossal electoral defeat, Gandhi offered to quit on May 25 during a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), which unanimously rejected his offer and authorised him to overhaul and restructure the party at all levels. Gandhi is reported to be insisting on his resignation and adamant on having a non-Gandhi installed as the party head.
senior Congress leaders made a determined bid to convince Gandhi to withdraw
his resignation, Shashi Tharoor, who scored an electoral hat-trick by winning
from the Thiruvanathapuram Lok Sabha seat, said Gandhi has led the party from
the front and still has far more to offer to the party. Congress bagged 52
seats, marginally up from 44 secured in 2014.
Asked about Gandhi’s offer to resign and if he was still Congress’ best bet in terms of leadership, Tharoor said attempts in the media to pin all the blame for the party’s electoral setback on his shoulders are simplistic and unfair.
Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit, a former chief Minister, appealed to Gandhi to withdraw his decision, saying the party has bounced back in the past from challenging circumstances to emerge triumphant.