Rahul sets political precedent by resigning for 2019 results

By Harihar Swarup. Dated: 7/9/2019 11:57:11 AM

Demands more accountability for Congress' transformation

Three cheers for Rahul Gandhi. What he has done none of his predecessors had, ever. Rahul has decided to resign owning the moral responsibility for the Congress debacle in May 2019 Lok Sabha elections and stuck to it. He did not succumb to pressure from the party's rank and file and senior leaders to take back his resignation. His image among the people has gone sky high. While quitting, he has laid the path the Congressmen should follow. He exhorted Congress to radically transform to take on the might of the BJP and assured the party that he would always be available for inputs and advice.
"Accountability is critical for the growth of our party. It is for that reason that I have resigned as the Congress President", he said in a letter not addressed to anybody. "Rebuilding the party requires hard decisions and numerous people will have 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 wrote.
Reiterating his earlier stand at the May 25 CWC meeting, Rahul said that he had taken on Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Mohan Bhagwat along and party seniors did not support him in raising vital issues. "I personally fought the Prime Minister, the RSS and the institutions they have captured. I stood completely alone and I am extremely proud of it".
He suggested that "my colleagues" in the working committee should entrust a group of people with the task of beginning to search for a new President. "I have empowered them to do so and committed my full support to this process and a smooth transition."
Rahul's categorical assertion that he has resigned as Congress president, taking responsibility for the election debacle must force the party to see reason. Nearly six weeks have passed since Rahul resigned at a Congress Working Committee called to take stock of Lok Sabha defeat but the party has failed to move on. The tone and finality of Rahul's letter, indicating that there is no scope for a rethink, will not perhaps add a touch or urgency to electing a new Congress President.
In a sagacious advice, Rahul has warned that "accountability is critical for future growth of the party". Notably, Rahul also continued tirade at others who failed-"numerous people will have to be made accountable-and said it would be unjust to hold others accountable while ignoring his own responsibility. It is rare in Indian politics for top leaders in the dynasty or supremo-led parties to accept responsibility and graciously resign. Even as Rahul steps down, it is important that the incoming chief isn't hamstrung by Gandhi family that continues to look large in the Congress imagination.
Congress must define the roles that Rahul, Congress, parliamentary party chief, Sonia Gandhi and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi will play in future. Failure to do so will undermine the new president's stature and impede the chances of revival. The time has come for the Congress to put party over family and empower a new chief who can overhaul the party, usher in internal democracy and prepare for next national election showdown with BJP in 2024.
Names of many successors to Rahul have been the rounds. From Dalit leaders Sushil Kumar Shinde, Mallikarjun Kharge and Mukul Wasnik to heartland OBC and upper caste faces like Ashok Gehlot and Anand Sharma and younger guns like Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia, the Congress is abuzz with names of Rahul's successor.
A speculation, perhaps, a sensible one, is that senior most general secretary Motilal Vora, should takeover as interim President. Amiable in nature, Vora can get along with everyone. Only age is not in his side but this is only a temporary arrangement till the Congress zeroes in on a viable chief.
Rahul had decided to take a plunge in politics in 2004 when he was elected to Lok Sabha from Amethi, was appointed AICC general secretary on September 24, 2007, became vice-president in January 2013. He became the Congress President in December 2017 and in his tenure the Congress won in four major states-Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
Rahul has resigned from the office of Congress President but has not retired from politics. He will continue to be active in political arena with more vigor and will one day bounce back. The age is on his side.
—(IPA Service)



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