New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid has said the departure of Rahul Gandhi as the party’s president after the defeat in the Lok Sabha elections has left everyone in a lurch, Hindustan Times reported.
Salman Khurshid also said the Congress is facing a wave of desertions because it is taking too long to come to terms with its defeat in the April-May parliamentary elections.
“We haven’t really got together to analyse why we got defeated. Our biggest problem is our leader has walked away,” Khurshid told Associated Press on Monday
The former Union minister also said that Rahul Gandhi still retains the allegiance of the party.
“It’s kind of left a vacuum. Sonia Gandhi stepped in, but there is more than an indication that she is treating herself as a stop-gap arrangement. I wish it wasn’t so,” Khurshid said.
Weeks ahead of the assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra, the senior leader said its struggles are at the point that it may not be able to win these state polls or ensure its own future.
Congress won just 52 of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha elections, , less than a tenth of the strength of the 543-member House, compared to 303 up from 282 in 2014 won by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Rahul Gandhi resigned as the Congress president after the massive defeat. His mother, Sonia Gandhi, stepped in on an interim basis.
Many attempts by party rank and file, as well as some allies of the Congress, to convince Rahul Gandhi to take back his resignation failed to move the politician, who faced a personal setback when he lost the election to the BJP’s Smriti Irani in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi, his family bastion.
He still entered the Lok Sabha as MP from Kerala’s Wayanad.
Sonia Gandhi took over as party leader in 1999 and led the Congress to back-to-back general election victories in 2004 and 2009, after declining to be prime minister after the first win, when she nominated economist and former finance minister Manmohan Singh to the nation’s top executive post.
The Congress lost power in 2014, confronting a slew of corruption scandals that marred its second term.
The Congress party’s woes are far from over even as it is desperately trying to mend its internal affairs ahead of the Haryana and Maharashtra assembly polls on October 21.
Former Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar resigned from its primary membership on Saturday, two days after he quit the party’s election committees and accused his political rivals of “selling tickets” for the upcoming state polls.
Tanwar was ousted as chief of Congress faction-ridden Haryana unit last month and replaced by former Union minister Kumari Selja. His replacement had been a key demand of Rohtak strongman and former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who was also appointed the chairperson of the party’s election management committee.
In Maharashtra, Sanjay Nirupam has threatened to quit the party after his recommendations for its nominees were rejected by the party leadership.
Aditi Singh, a legislator in Uttar Pradesh, also seemed to join the revolt by staying away from a street march held by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, a party general secretary and daughter of Sonia Gandhi, in the family’s bastion of Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh.
Senior leader and former finance minister, P Chidambaram, has been arrested by federal investigators for alleged corruption in the INX Media case....