New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) Congress President Rahul Gandhi was set to meet on Monday Chief Ministers of five Congress-ruled states for the first time after the Lok Sabha election defeat and made it clear he was firm on giving up the party’s leadership.
Shortly after Rajasthan’s Ashok Gehlot said that Gandhi should remain at the party’s helm, the party chief told reporters here: “I have made my decision clear. You all know it.”
Amid mass resignations in the Congress in a show of “solidarity”, Gandhi, who has announced his decision to give up the presidency, was to meet Gehlot, Amarinder Singh (Punjab), Kamal Nath (Madhya Pradesh), V. Narayansamy (Puducherry) and Bhupesh Baghel (Chhattisgarh).
There is no official agenda for the meeting but the crisis in the country’s oldest political party following its rout is bound to come up for discussion.
The Congress faces a leadership issue, with Gandhi announcing he won’t continue as the President and asking the party to pick a successor.
Most Congress leaders, however, want Gandhi to continue to lead the party.
The Congress won just 52 seats in the Lok Sabha. Gandhi himself was defeated in Amethi in Uttar Pradesh although he got elected from Wayanad in Kerala.
The party suffered a drubbing even in the Hindi heartland states where only last year it had ousted the BJP from power in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Gandhi had earlier blamed Gehlot and Kamal Nath for the reverses in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in the Lok Sabha battle.
Gehlot said earlier that the Chief Ministers will show their solidarity with Gandhi and that everyone was responsible for the election debacle.
He tweeted: “We firmly believe that only he (Gandhi) can lead the party in the current scenario. His commitment towards the well being of our country and countrymen is un-compromised and unmatched.”
He said the 2019 election outcome was not a defeat of the Congress programme.
He said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) managed to hide its failures behind their “fanatic nationalism with the help of enormous resources and government machinery at hand.
“But, in spite all odds, it’s no secret how amidst opposition, only Congress Prez did his best to make it an issue-based election and took BJP head on,” Gehlot said.