New Delhi [India], May 25 (ANI): Smarting under the second consecutive debacle in the Lok Sabha elections, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday offered to resign taking moral responsibility for the defeat but was rejected 'unanimously' by the Congress Working Committee (CWC) which authorised him to do a complete overhaul and restructuring of the party at every level.
At a three-hour long meeting called to discuss the poor showing of the party at the hustings, Gandhi reportedly spelt-out various options including having a working president who will be from outside the Gandhi family. He is also said to have urged the party leaders not to seek such a role for his sister Priyanka.
However, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, who addressed a press conference after the meeting, dismissed reports in this connection, saying that there is no truth in the speculation that Rahul Gandhi asked for a non-Gandhi to be made president of party.
"We did not discuss any names. He only offered his resignation", said Surjewala who released the copy of the resolution adopted by the CWC rejecting his resignation and its views on other issues.
He also termed a number of questions purportedly based on information from sources about what happened in the meeting as being in the realm of speculations.
The resolution said: "Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his address to the CWC offered his resignation as the party president. The CWC unanimously and with one voice rejected the same and requested the Congress president for his leadership and guidance in these challenging times.
"The CWC unanimously called upon the Congress president Rahul Gandhi to lead the party in this ideological battle and to champion the cause of India's youth, the farmers, the SC/ST/OBC's, the minorities, the poor and the deprived sections."Surjewala and senior leaders AK Antony and Ghulam Nabi Azad, who also addressed the media, said that the party agreed that there was need for introspection over the defeat and it will be done in due course.
Antony did not agree with a questioner that the Congress party's performance was disastrous.
"I don't agree that it was a disastrous performance but we were not able to rise up to the expectations. Party will discuss this in details...Today we had only general discussions," he said.
To a question about non-implementation of the report into a debacle in 2014 prepared by a committee headed by him, he said, "The report was given to the then Congress president Sonia Gandhi, some of the recommendations were implemented but that chapter is over."Azad said there was no detailed discussion about the factors right now because it would be seen as an excuse for the defeat.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, "In a democracy winning or losing keep happening but providing leadership is a different matter. He gave a leadership, one which is visible - maybe less on TV but very evident among the public. We have accepted our defeat but it was a defeat of numbers and not ideology.
"In CWC meeting everyone unanimously told him (Rahul Gandhi) he did a good job...No one has a doubt on his leadership but the situation was like that. If someone can lead the party in such a situation it is only Rahul Gandhi if anyone can lead opposition, it's only Rahul Gandhi," he said.
The resolution said the CWC fully recognise the challenges, the failures and the shortcomings resulting in this mandate and recommended a through introspection.
It requested the Congress president for a complete overhaul and a detailed restructuring at every level of the party.
"A plan to this effect shall come into force at the earliest," the resolution said.
It said the Congress party has lost the election but its indomitable courage, fighting spirit and commitment to ideology remain stronger than ever.
"We shall continue its fight against forces that thrive on hatred and division," it said.
"The CWC also noted that India faces a number of challenges as a new government takes over. The issue of surging oil prices post-sanctions against Iran as also price rise stares us in the face. The banking sector is in dire straits with uncontrolled and unchecked NPA's soaring to nearly 12 lakh crores, over last five years, threatening the very stability of banking operations.
"Serious questions being raised on the financial viability of NBFC's, wherein hard-earned savings of the people's lives are invested. The downturn of the economy coupled with lack of private investment and a steep fall in consumption patterns, point towards a grave economic slowdown. The looming job crisis has seen no solutions, jeopardizing the future of our young.
"The agrarian crisis continues unabated with large swathes of the country reeling under severe drought particularly Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Karnataka. Institutional integrity, which is the hallmark of our Constitutional Democracy remains under a cloud. Social strife and tensions affect large portions of our populace.
"CWC notes that these are issues to be urgently addressed by the next government. The responsibility and accountability to overcome these challenges is of the next government. The Congress party would continue to play a constructive role to overcome these serious challenges. CWC hopes that the government will address these issues as its top priority," the resolution read. (ANI)