MUMBAI: The Shiv Sena Wednesday expressed the hope the resignation of Rahul Gandhi as Congress president will pave the way for the restructuring of the main opposition party and herald a new era in the 133-year-old organisation.
More than a month after declaring his intention, Rahul Gandhi Wednesday formally resigned as Congress chief, saying he is responsible for the loss in the Lok Sabha election and accountability is critical for the party's future growth.
Shiv Sena spokesman and MP Sanjay Raut said with the resignation, the Congress has become "Gandhi family-free" under the tenure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"The Modi storm has uprooted Rahul Gandhi. It is during Modi's tenure that the Congress has become Gandhi family-mukt".
"The Congress still has strong roots and should use this opportunity to restructure itself," he said.
Raut said Rahul Gandhi's resignation will herald an era where the Congress will be free from the domination of the Gandhi family and this development will be noted in history.
"There was criticism that the Congress is dominated by one family and many voters were turning their back on the party. This development will be crucial," said Raut, whose party is a key ally of the BJP.
Congress leaders from Maharashtra also reacted to Rahul Gandhi's resignation. Party leader and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said Rahul Gandhi made the formal announcement of his resignation to end all speculation over the issue.
The Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party's highest decision-making body, will take a decision on his successor, said Chavan, a former Union minister.
Another Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam termed the development as the "saddest day in Congress history".
Nirupam said Rahul Gandhi was the "most hardworking, intelligent, dedicated and sensitive Congress president ever".
"He worked hard to revive the party. He took the 2019 defeat to heart and then took the unprecedented decision of quitting," said Nirupam.
Accountability for the Congress's poor showing in the Lok Sabha polls should be fixed on other leaders as well, said the former MP.
"Gandhi alone can't be held responsible for the defeat. There are many other top leaders. Accountability should be fixed on other leaders as well. If the Congress has to come back to the centre stage, he should lead the party," Nirupam said.
The 2019 verdict was not a defeat of dynasty, Nirupam said, adding if that was so then the kin of BJP leaders like Vasundhara Raje, Gopinath Munde, Pramod Mahajan and P K Dhumal would not have won elections.
Nirupam alleged the election process was manipulated by the ruling dispensation and the opposition was made to lose.
Senior Congress leader Mohammed Arif Naseem Khan said partymen are feeling sad over Rahul Gandhi's resignation, but they respect his decision.
"Last week, we had met Rahul Gandhi in Delhi and requested him to reconsider his decision to quit and continue as party chief," he said.
Khan said Gandhi had told party leaders from Maharashtra that he had made up his mind to quit. "We Congressmen are sad, but we respect his decision," Khan said.