Congress's Rahul Gandhi reiterated his decision to quit the party chief's post, rejecting yet another appeal by the lawmakers to stay on. "This is the not the forum to discuss the issue," he told the lawmakers who had come to the meeting armed with posters and banners with "come back" messages.
Mr Gandhi had triggered hope yesterday when it became known that he is meeting leaders of the poll-bound states later this week.
After announcing his decision to quit the post last month, the 49-year-old had dissociated himself from all party activities and turned away leaders who went to meet him. Earlier this month, he also refused to take up the position of the party's Leader in the Lok Sabha.
"I have already told the CWC about my decision. There has to be accountability," Mr Gandhi said again today, when pressed by leaders like Shashi Tharoor to rethink his resignation. at The meeting was chaired by his mother Sonia Gandhi.
The Congress is expected to hold a meeting of the Working Committee soon, where a final decision on whether Mr Gandhi will stay or go will be taken.
In an earlier interview, Mr Tharoor had told NDTV that Rahul Gandhi was taking the rout in the national election personally. But the issues facing the party are "too important to be reduced to a question of an individual" and "it is unfair to Rahul Gandhi and to the Congress party," he had said.
Days after the results were declared, Rahul Gandhi took "100 per cent" responsibility for the party's failure and told the party's Working Committee that he would like to step down from the top post. But the Congress refused to accept the decision.
The party's senior leaders have indicated that only members of the Gandhi family can hold the Congress together. But Mr Gandhi, who was defeated by Smriti Irani in Amethi but won from Kerala's Wayanad, has negated that option too, declaring that his mother Sonia Gandhi or sister Priyanka Gandhi cannot be given the responsibility.
Since Independence, the Congress always had the Gandhis at the helm, except for several years after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in 1991. But the party did not do well under Sitaram Kesri and several leaders had convinced Sonia Gandhi to enter active politics and take the reins of the party.
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