Former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha today said Rahul Gandhi should follow through on his decision to step down as Congress president or risk losing "public estimation".
In a message posted on Twitter, Yashwant Sinha, who quit the BJP last year, also suggested the Congress be run by presidium in the short term.
Mr Sinha wrote: "If Rahul Gandhi does not stand firm on his resignation, he will lose further in public estimation. Let the party be run by a presidium or any other arrangement at least for some time."
If Rahul Gandhi does not stand firm on his resignation, he will lose further in public estimation. Let the party be run by a presidium or any other arrangement at least for some time.— Yashwant Sinha (@YashwantSinha) May 30, 2019
In March, Mr Sinha had nudged Rahul Gandhi to work on sealing alliances for the national election.
"Unsolicited advice to Rahul Gandhi," pl finalise your alliances in Bihar, Jharkhand, Delhi and elsewhere today. It is already too late," he had tweeted.
Mr Gandhi, 48, had last week told the Congress Working Committee that he would like to exit as its leader nearly a year and a half after he took the job from his mother Sonia Gandhi.
His announcement came after the party's disastrous performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, in which it won only 52 seats. The haul was only marginally better than the 44 it won in the 2014 election, which represents its worst ever performance in a national election.
In contrast, rivals BJP won 303 seats on its own (352 with NDA allies) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to become the first Prime Minister to win two consecutive terms, with full majority, since Congress in 1971.
Rahul Gandhi had described himself as "100 per cent responsible" for the party's defeat.
To make matters worse, the Congress leader also lost his traditional constituency Amethi, the Gandhi family stronghold in Uttar Pradesh.
"We have to continue our fight. I am and will remain a disciplined soldier of the Congress and continue to fight fearlessly. But I do not want to remain the party president," Mr Gandhi reportedly said.
Many have called on Mr Gandhi to reconsider his decision to step down, with former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit among those.
South superstar actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth also had words of support, "He (Rahul Gandhi) should not resign. He should prove he can do it. In democracy the opposition should also be strong.
DMK leader MK Stalin and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav also sent positive messages.
Yashwant Sinha held the Finance and External Affairs portfolios in Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's cabinet between 1998 and 2004.
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