Sunil Jakhar was elected as member of parliament from Gurdaspur in 2017 bypolls. (File)
- The Punjab Congress chief had lost Gurdaspur seat by over 80,000 votes
- Congress won 8 of the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab
- Several Congress state unit presidents resigned after election results
Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, who lost the Gurdaspur seat to actor-politician Sunny Deol, has stepped down from his post - the latest in a string of several state unit chiefs to resign over the Congress's crushing defeat in the Lok Sabha polls. Though the Congress performance in Punjab has been the best among states, with victories in 8 of the 13 Lok Sabha seats - Mr Jakhar has been unable to retain his seat.
The 65-year-old Congress leader - elected in the 2017 bypolls held after the death of BJP lawmaker Vinod Khanna --had lost to Sunny Deol, who was contesting his maiden election, by over 80,000 votes.
"Everyone supported me fully and put in their best for me but I was unable to defend my seat. In such a scenario I cannot continue as state chief. I feet a moral responsibility to quit," he wrote in his resignation letter.
Veteran actor and former BJP lawmaker Dharmendra had earlier said he would not have allowed his son to contest the elections from Gurdaspur had he known who his rival is.
"Balram Jakhar was like my brother. Had I known his son Sunil Jakhar was contesting from Gurdaspur, I would have not allowed Sunny (to contest against him)," the 83-year-old told news agency ANI earlier this month.
Earlier on Monday, Dr Ajoy Kumar also offered to resign from the post of Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee chief after the party won only one seat in the state in the state.
So far, state unit presidents of the Congress in Odisha, Assam, and Madhya Pradesh have submitted their resignations to Rahul Gandhi after party's dismal performance in the national elections.
Rahul Gandhi, too, has announced his intention to step down, and has asked the party to select a leader. The party has refused to accept his resignation and an impasse has been on since Saturday's meeting of the Working Committee.
The Congress won just 52 of 542 parliamentary seats in the Lok Sabha polls.
Sources close to Rahul Gandhi said he is "not abandoning the post" even though he is determined to quit. He will give the party time to choose a new person for the top job.
(With inputs from PTI, ANI)