The Congress leaders are falling over each other to show their unending faith in Rahul Gandhi's leadership, despite the series of his abysmal performance as the Congress president which culminated in the shambolic 52-seat tally in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The party leaders have unanimously rejected Gandhi's resignation saying they believe only he can lead the party.
However, his scorecard as the party chief and as someone in higher echelons of the Congress before taking up the president's post has hardly justified such faith.
Since his debut in 2004 till the poll debacle in 2014, and up to the point where he led his party to a colossal failure as its chief as the Congress secured just 52 seats in the Lok Sabha elections, his career graph leaves much wanting.
Gandhi began his career in the party as the general secretary of the All India Congress Committee and National Students’ Union of India and the Indian Youth Congress in 2007 - a lofty position for a new entrant.
As per accounts, he faced criticisms for his inexperience and lack of involvement in his party, and this came to be evident as the gaffes that are now known only all too well kept steadily becoming frequent. Despite this, he was made the Congress Vice President in 2013.
However, seemingly primed for the top job, Rahul Gandhi faced a humiliating defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as the Congress won just 44 seats. In the same year, the party witnessed defeat in six assembly polls. The losses continued to mount as in 2015, the party lost in five assembly polls.
Despite setback-upon-setback, he was handed the mantle of Congress president in 2017. The same year, his party faced defeat in two more assembly polls.
Now, after a resounding defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi tendered his resignation, only for it to be unanimously rejected by his party members.
"Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his address to the CWC offered his resignation which the CWC members unanimously and with one voice rejected and requested the Congress president for his guidance and leadership," said the spokesperson.
"In 2014, when everyone wrote off the INC, it was Rahul Gandhi who fought back and made INC relevant again. In 2019, he took on the right issues and cornered the BJP. He should be continued to be INC president. We cannot afford not to have him in that position. Reviving a party is a 5-year process, it takes a leader like him to think long-term and bring INC to its rightful position to serve the people of India. It's not the question of finding a person outside the family. INC itself is one big family and he belongs to that family.
"I think it does a disservice to the very complex challenges facing the Congress party to reduce it to a question of one person.
"While Rahulji has bravely taken full responsibility for the defeat, we all are responsible for what went wrong and we all have a responsibility to ensure the party's revival," the 63-year-old leader said. "That is the kind of place he has built in the hearts of the rank and file of the Congress party and therefore, to my mind, he still undoubtedly remains the best person to help rally the party out of the predicament it finds itself in and help us collectively move forward," Tharoor said
"Still, I have no doubt the Gandhi-Nehru family will continue to command great clout and respect within the party, just on the basis of the tremendous contributions they have made in shaping and guiding the party since Independence," the former diplomat said.
"In the CWC meeting, we have said very clearly that none of us will accept his resignation. To convince him or to replace him is our responsibility. We won't listen to his decision and won't even search for any replacement," she said.
"Under his leadership, Congress has only bettered, not weakened. Yes, there will be wins and losses and have always been. Even in Indira Gandhi's era, we experienced loss and then won in a major way. We cannot be sacred by these losses. His (Rahul Gandhi's) leadership is very precious for us. We will not let him leave," she added.