Rahul Gandhi, the chief of India’s major opposition Congress social gathering, is formally stepping down — simply months after a powerful defeat within the 2019 parliamentary elections.
His resignation was imminent, mentioned one political scientist.
“I think it was inevitable that Rahul Gandhi takes … the responsibility because there has been a series of national setbacks that the party has received,” mentioned Sandeep Shastri, professional vice chancellor at Jain College in Bengaluru, India.
The transfer takes away any criticism inside the social gathering of Gandhi’s position within the election defeat, Shastri advised CNBC’s “Street Signs ” on Thursday. It additionally leaves Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Social gathering with out its most necessary focus of assault on the Congress social gathering — that it’s dynastic and has the mistaken sort of management.
Congress gained solely 52 seats within the parliamentary elections that concluded in May. For his half, Gandhi misplaced his seat in a constituency that reportedly had solely two non-Congress leaders since 1967.
The BJP, in the meantime, had gained 303 seats — properly above the 272 seat-count required for a celebration, or its coalition, earlier than it might probably type a authorities.
That was the second consecutive time that Congress suffered a humiliating defeat on the polls, after the social gathering gained solely 44 out 464 contested seats within the 2014 parliamentary elections.
Alternative for change
Gandhi is the fourth era scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, which has managed the social gathering for a lot of its 133-year historical past.
His great-grandfather, Jawaharlal Nehru was the primary Indian prime minister after India gained independence in 1947. His grandmother, Indira Gandhi, and his father, Rajiv, had been each former prime ministers, whereas his mom, Sonia, is an influential determine inside the social gathering.
Rahul Gandhi, president of the Congress Social gathering, speaks throughout an occasion marking the discharge of the Congress manifesto on the social gathering’s headquarters in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday, April 2, 2019.
T. Narayan | Bloomberg | Getty Pictures
“Also, within the Congress, he has now created opportunity for change to happen,” Shastri mentioned, including that it’s unlikely anybody from the Gandhi household could be thought-about for the highest job at this stage.
Nonetheless, Gandhi’s affect — in addition to that of his sister’s, Priyanka — will stay inside the Congress social gathering, in accordance with Shastri.
Because the social gathering’s president, Gandhi took accountability for Congress’ defeat on the polls.
“Accountability is critical for the future growth of our party. It is for this reason that I have resigned as Congress President,” he mentioned in a public letter posted Wednesday.
Gandhi mentioned that with the intention to rebuild the social gathering, “hard decisions” must be taken and that “numerous people” need to be made accountable for its current setback. Within the letter, he additionally urged social gathering colleagues to start the seek for a successor.
Seek for a successor
Gandhi introduced his intention to resign in May however senior social gathering leaders refused to just accept the discover. Some senior leaders inside Congress expressed disappointment following Gandhi’s formal resignation on Wednesday.
It wasn’t instantly clear who would take the highest job in India’s major opposition social gathering because it seems to rebuild itself.
Native media speculated that a number of names could also be thought-about for the presidency. They embrace:
- Sushilkumar Shinde, a former residence affairs minister
- Mallikarjun Kharge, the Congress chief within the decrease home earlier than the 2019 polls
- Amarinder Singh, the chief minister of the state of Punjab
Shastri mentioned the best candidate could be somebody whom the Gandhi household would have a “total trust and confidence in” in addition to somebody who is ready to win assist from the varied faction leaders inside the Congress.
Reuters reported some social gathering officers haven’t but given up hope that Gandhi will rethink the resignation.