Rahul Gandhi today addressed top Congress leaders at a post-mortem of a national election debacle which, many say, exposes an existential crisis for the grand old party. During the high-level meeting that went for over three hours, the Congress president kept insisting that he should resign as party president, but it was unanimously rejected, sources say. Congress leaders praised him and gave him authority to reorganise the party, they added. The top leadership of the Congress met to review the party's dismal showing in the national election. The party managed to win only 52 seats, way below the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance which won over 350 seats in the 542 Lok Sabha constituencies that went to polls.
Mr Gandhi has taken "100 per cent responsibility" for the defeat. He had centred his election campaign around PM Modi, accusing him of corruption in the Rafale deal, unemployment and weak economy. He also ran "chowkidar chor hai" campaign against PM Modi. The meeting is being held a day after three state chiefs of the party sent their resignations to their boss who himself could not keep his traditional seat Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress Working Committee includes general secretaries Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, her mother and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh and the chief ministers of all Congress-ruled states - Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.