The Congress party has reaffirmed its faith in the Gandhi family even after its worst ever performance in the Lok Sabha elections.
Four days after it touched the nadir of 44 seats, the party’s highest body, the working committee, unanimously rejected the offer by Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul to quit their posts, taking responsibility for the defeat.
Briefing media persons after the meeting party veteran Janardan Dwivedi said that there was no discussion on the subject. ” All the members were unanimous in the opinion that this was not the solution to the present crisis and the way forward lies in meeting the challenges thrown by the situation, he added.
This was the anticipated course of action at this CWC even though there had been substantial criticism of Rahul Gandhi’s style of functioning and the choice of his aides.
However it appears that the party leadership has taken a conscious decision to avoid that issue in the official meeting.
Instead the senior leaders are now believed to have come round to a course of action that these issues should be conveyed to the Congress president in one- on- one meetings.
For the record the CWC acknowledged the verdict with humility but desisted from congratulating the winner Narendra Modi.
In a gesture of mutual admiration both Sonia Gandhi and the outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appreciated each other and said the other could not be blamed for this failure, though there was an acceptance that the party misread the people’s mood.
There were mushy outpourings in the CWC as well: Makhanlal Fotedar intervened immediately after the mother and son read out from their written statements and wondered aloud what would remain of the party, if there was a leadership vacuum.
Soon others joined Fotedar and pleaded that the duo could not desert the party in its moment of crisis.
Party sources said Sonia and Rahul finally agreed with the members that their resignations would only further demoralise the workers.
The atmosphere soon was laden with emotion to such an extent that the CWC meeting wound up without even setting up a committee to go into the factors behind the party’s debacle.
No decision could either be taken on the claim party leaders need to make for recognition as leaders of opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha./ All the general secretaries also offered to resign, saying they were equally accountable for the party’s poor show. They told Sonia that she is free to revamp the party as she deems it fit.
Manmohan Singh also joined others in persuading Sonia and Rahul not to resign, pointing out that it is the collective defeat of the party. He pointed out that it will be dangerous if leaders resign at this juncture as ” since we have to play the role of a constructive opposition.” Among few who tried to introspect was Anil Shastri who complained that there was no interface between the leadership and the party workers. He advocated evolving a mechanism to cover up this deficiency.