oppn parties Rahul Insists On Quitting, But Does The Congress Have A Choice?

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India shows solidarity in the fight against COVID-19 by lighting diyas and candles at 9 pm yesterday as requested by Prime Minister Modi
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Rahul Insists On Quitting, But Does The Congress Have A Choice?

By Linus Garg
First publised on 2019-05-25 19:26:47

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Linus tackles things head-on. He takes sides in his analysis and it fits excellently with our editorial policy. No 'maybe's' and 'allegedly' for him, only things in black and white.
The Congress Working Committee (CWC) has met. Rahul Gandhi has offered to resign. The CWC has refused to accept his resignation. Most members said that the party needs him at this hour. But Rahul has insisted that he wants to actually quit. Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra tried to persuade him to change his mind. But he was adamant. He said that it is not necessary for the party to have a member of the Gandhi family at the top.

Rahul Gandhi and the Congress are in a dilemma. If Rahul doesn’t quit, he is called shameless. If he quits, there will be cries that he shied away from fighting Modi. If the party doesn’t accept his resignation, it will be accused of pandering to dynastic politics. If it does accept it, it will not be able to reach a consensus on who will be the next president.

Accepting 100% responsibility for the party’s debacle in the elections, Rahul Gandhi is reported to have told the CWC that "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".

But the 51 other wise men and women who form the CWC are aware that seniority, egos and personality clashes have prevented the Congress from having anyone but a Gandhi at the top for most part of its existence after the 1970’s. They know that even if the person appointed is handpicked by the Gandhi’s, other leaders will work to undermine his position. They also know that it would be a disaster is times like this when the BJP has a brute majority in Parliament. They fear that the party will disintegrate if anyone but a Gandhi holds it together.

Hence, despite Rahul’s earnest insistence, the CWC is unlikely to let him go. They cannot have Sonia as president due to her health issues. Priyanka Vadra is very new to active politics and despite acceptance among the workers, she might not find favour with a few senior leaders. Also, her appointment will trigger a fresh round of charge from the BJP about Congress relying on dynastic politics. Manmohan Singh is unlikely to accept the post due to his advancing years. No other leader will be universally accepted, both by other leaders and by party workers. Hence, one feels that Rahul Gandhi will continue to lead the party for now.