In a sensational political scoop that comes amid an unprecedented Congress 'resignation' crisis, with party leaders from across the country offering to step down from their positions over its abysmal performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Republic TV has learnt that a group of younger Congress figures plan to meet in New Delhi to chart a way out for the party. Crucially, this list of Congress leaders doesn't include party president Rahul Gandhi who has been empowered despite the setback.
As per inputs, the list of Congress leaders that will be meeting in New Delhi includes deputy Rajasthan Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, Jitin Prasada, former Guna MP who has now lost his constituency Jyotiraditya Scindia, Deepender Hooda, RPN Singh, Gaurav Gogoi and at least four others.
Further, as per Congress insiders, there is clamour from factions within the party for Rahul Gandhi to be replaced as party chief, despite party resolving at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting over the weekend that he should be given full authority to overhaul the party. AK Antony and Sachin Pilot are among those whose names are being strongly touted, whereas Prithviraj Chavan is considered a dark horse in the race.
Since the May 23 results in which the Congress managed to win just 52 seats - six more than its lowest-ever Lok Sabha polls tally in 2014 - the resignations have come in thick and fast, and from all over the country.
Congress chiefs of Madhya Pradesh (M.P CM Kamal Nath), Uttar Pradesh (Raj Babbar), Odisha (Niranjan Patnaik), Assam (Ripun Bora), Jharkhand (Dr Ajoy Kumar), Punjab (Sunil Jhakar, on account of his own loss to BJP's Sunny Deol in Gurdaspur) are among the many names that have resigned, whereas on the day of the CWC meeting, sources had also said that Rahul Gandhi had offered to resign but this was unanimously rejected by party leaders who instead 'sought his guidance.'
A meeting amid the resignations was also held earlier on Monday as senior leaders KC Venugopal and Ahmed Patel convened at Rahul Gandhi's residence. Turmoil has also erupted in the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka with the Siddaramaiah-led Congress Legislature Party (CLP) set to meet on May 29 to iron out issues.
Also on Monday, Congress media in-charge had dismissed clamour for Rahul Gandhi's resignation, issuing the following Tweet:
The Congress suffered a series of embarrassments as part of the party's results in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, chief among them their decimation in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan - two states where they had just months earlier formed governments - and Rahul Gandhi own loss in the Gandhi family's Amethi bastion to Smriti Irani. As per sources, following the result, Rahul Gandhi had also blamed senior Congress leaders for putting their sons' tickets and elections ahead of party interests. Chidambaram, Gehlot and Kamal Nath had sons contesting the Lok Sabha polls.