In a big development amid turmoil within the Congress party following the 2019 Lok Sabha election results, another meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) has been called to discuss the future course of action.
As per inputs, Rahul Gandhi is insistent on his decision to step down as Congress party president. At the previous CWC meeting, his resignation offer was rejected as the party instead allegedly unanimously asked him to remain and guide them, and even bestowed upon him full authority to overhaul the party.
Counsel for Rahul Gandhi to not quit as Congress chief has also on Tuesday come from ally Lalu Prasad Yadav who has called the resignation decision suicidal, opining that as soon as a non-Nehru-Gandhi family member takes over the role, they would be painted as a 'puppet' by the BJP. Lalu Prasad also blamed regional parties for not projecting Rahul Gandhi as a Prime Ministerial face as it was required to take on the BJP and Narendra Modi irrespective of the Opposition's seat-share bargaining.
At the time of publishing, a meeting is underway at Rahul Gandhi's residence, with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Jyotiraditya Scindia also present and Randeep Surjewala called in.
Sources have informed Republic of factions within the Congress not being satisfied with the party's decision to not effect a change at the top after the poll debacle, which saw the Congress effectively being whitewashed in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh - two states where they had only recently formed governments, and Rahul Gandhi also losing his Amethi bastion to Smriti Irani.
As per Congress insiders, 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.
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:
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.