NEW DELHI: Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, leaders of India’s defeated Congress party, offered to resign after last week’s election debacle, but colleagues rejected their gesture, a senior party figure said.
“They both offered to resign but the party rejected it unanimously,” member of parliament Amarinder Singh told reporters yesterday after a meeting of the Congress’s top committee in New Delhi.
The Press Trust of India reported that the Congress Working Committee passed a unanimous resolution “expressing full faith in the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi”.
About a dozen supporters gathered outside the party’s Delhi headquarters, shouting slogans – “Rahul-ji, continue to struggle, we are with you” – during the 150-minute-long meeting.
The mother and son, members of South Asia’s most famous political dynasty, are facing unprecedented pressure from grassroots party workers and defeated ex-MPs over their failed campaign tactics.
Congress slumped to its worst poll result ever last Friday, winning just 44 seats in the 543-member parliament – less than a quarter of its tally in 2009 – as the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party swept to power with a landslide win.
Sonia, the 67-year-old Congress president, entrusted campaigning to vice-president Rahul, whose lacklustre performance failed to convince voters that the party deserved a third term in power. The defeat has raised questions over whether the dynasty can retain its grip over the left-leaning party. — AFP