NEW DELHI: The crisis within the Congress following party president Rahul Gandhi’s decision to resign continued on Tuesday, though the top leadership tried to talk him out of it.
On Rahul’s visitors’ list were organisational secretary K C Venugopal, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, his deputy Sachin Pilot and the party’s communication department head Randeep Singh Surjewala. Rahul had denied Gehlot an appointment on Monday.
The party president had specifically named Gehlot at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting last Saturday as one of those pressing for a ticket to his son Vaibhav. Gehlot spent seven days in Vaibhav’s Jodhpur constituency, neglecting the rest of the state, he pointed out, adding all Congress candidates were routed in Rajasthan.
“There is status quo as of now. Rahul met some party leaders, including Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, who submitted separate reports on the reasons behind the debacle. Party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was present at his residence,” said sources.
The party, however, maintained that the CWC has rejected Rahul’s offer to resign. On speculation that Rahul could be named the leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, the party said the decision will be taken in due time.
In what appears to be an orchestrated exercise, the state executive of the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee is expected to meet on Wednesday in Jaipur and endorse the CWC resolution urging Rahul to stay as party chief.
Other units would follow suit. Meanwhile, knives were out within the party with Congress’ National Media Coordinator Rachit Seth attacking “Left-leaning” people in Rahul’s team for preventing the leader from playing the nationalism card.
Seth posted a blog — later taken down — pointing fingers at Rahul’s core team for stopping him from speaking or holding press conferences on Pulwama. Seth cited instances in the last two months to show how Rahul’s team did not let him take a stand on nationalism, despite others pushing for it.
Another senior party leader said Rahul’s team did not let correct information flow to him.
“Even data analytics head Praveen Chakravarty kept saying that NYAY and Rafale issues were resonating on the ground. Turns out he was completely wrong. Rahul trusted the feedback and hammered the points. Such people should be removed,” said a party leader on condition of anonymity.
Attack on the team
Rahul’s core team included former JNU student union president Sandeep Singh, who had shown black flags to former PM Manmohan Singh in 2005.
He wrote Rahul’s speeches and advised him on political issues. Sandeep also worked with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in UP during the elections