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Talk of churning in Congress: Rahul Gandhi may resign after poll debacle – will it happen?

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Rahul Gandhi

Congress president Rahul Gandhi may offer his resignation tomorrow (Saturday, May 25) at a meeting of Congress Working Committee to deliberate on the second successive debacle in Lok Sabha polls.

According to reports in a section of media, murmurs have already started within the party over taking responsibility for the poor performance of the Congress across the country, with some of its leaders already sending in their resignations.

The Congress won only 52 seats this time, drawing a blank in as many as 19 states. Once again, the Congress would fail to get the post of Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha for its leader as in 2014 when it had got only 44 seats.

The party has reportedly convened a meeting of the Congress Working Committee, its highest decision making body, at 11 AM on Saturday and Rahul Gandhi is likely to offer his resignation at the meet, party sources said, reported The Indian Express (IE).

Also Read: Smriti Irani busts Gandhi bastion, myth of invincibility

Top party leaders, including UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, are expected to attend the meeting.

On Thursday, Gandhi said he took “100 per cent responsibility” for the defeat. Asked whether he would quit, he said: “Let that be between the Working Committee and me.”

In 2014, too, then Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi – who led the campaign as party vice president – had both offered to quit after the party plunged to a historic low of 44 seats. The Congress, which has always been devoted to the Nehru-Gandhi family, rejected the offer.

Murmurs against the leadership are louder this time, say reports. “If they want to change anything, change the leadership,” news agency Reuters quoted an unnamed Congress leader from Rajasthan as saying.

There have already been voices within to introspect on why the party failed to reach out to the people.

Resignation of state leaders

Meanwhile, there have been some resignation from state chiefs. Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar and Odisha Congress president Niranjan Patnaik announced their resignations from the post owning responsibility for the party’s defeat in their respective states.

Also Read: Narendra Modi sweeps back to power, Opposition fails to put up a fight in most states

In UP, it managed to win only the Rae Bareli constituency of Sonia Gandhi out of 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Rahul Gandhi himself lost from his family bastion Amethi to senior BJP leader Smriti Irani.

Babbar, who contested from Fatehpur Sikri, was defeated by a margin of 4,95,065 votes by BJP’s Rajkumar Chahar.

“The results are depressing for the Uttar Pradesh Congress. I find myself guilty of not discharging my responsibility in a proper manner,” Babbar tweeted in Hindi. “I will meet the leadership and apprise it of my views. Congratulations to the winners for winning the confidence of the people,” he said.

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik said: “I have sent my resignation to AICC President (Rahul Gandhi) owning moral responsibility for the party’s poor show in both Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the state. While the Congress faced defeat in the state, I too lost at the hustings,” he said.

Patnaik said “the party needs to take concrete steps to set the organisation in proper shape by getting rid of opportunists and attracting youths into its fold.” He said that he had tried his best to bolster the party’s poll prospects.

Patnaik said a committee, headed by senior leader Narasingha Mishra, has been set up to ascertain the reasons behind the drubbing suffered by the Congress in Odisha.

Congress won only one Lok Sabha seat and nine assembly seats in the eastern state.

Also Read: Assembly Election Result 2019

There are also reports that HK Patil, who was tasked to oversee the Karnataka Congress campaign in December, has quit taking moral responsibility.

The enormity of defeat

The Congress drew a blank in as many as 19 states and UTs, including Odisha, Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, and picked up one or two seats in the other states barring Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Punjab.

If the party’s 15 seats in Kerala and eight each in Tamil Nadu and Punjab are to be discounted, then the tally would have dipped to 20. The Congress, one of its leaders said, has become a South India party, Punjab being the only exception where Chief Minister Amarinder Singh held out.

The drubbing was so severe that of the three Hindi heartland states where it returned to power in the assembly elections last winter, the Congress drew a blank in Rajasthan, won only one seat in Madhya Pradesh and managed just two seats in Chhattisgarh.

The good showing in Tamil Nadu too came largely with help from the DMK. It could win only one or two seats in state after state, among them Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Bihar, Goa, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.

Many of the Congress big guns lost — Mallikarjun Kharge and M Veerappa Moily in Karnataka, Digvijaya Singh in Madhya Pradesh, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Kumari Selja in Haryana, Ashok Chavan and Sushil Kumar Shinde in Maharashtra, Meira Kumar in Bihar, Pawan Kumar Bansal in Chandigarh, Sheila Dikshit and Ajay Maken in Delhi, Salman Khurshid, Raj Babbar and Sri Prakash Jaiswal in Uttar Pradesh.

Many of its younger faces, including the baba log around Gandhi in Lok Sabha, too fell by the wayside — Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sushmita Dev, Deepender Hooda, Milind Deora, RPN Singh and Jitin Prasada.

Murmurs for fixing accountability

The debacles have got some of the leaders calling for fixing of accountability. At least two leaders said they plan to write to the Congress president, demanding an urgent meeting of the CWC to “discuss what went wrong and the way ahead”, reported IE.

Reacting to the results, senior Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi said to The Indian Express, “I am not surprised,” while another senior leader Anand Sharma said “we lost the narrative and there are many things for that matter which should have been seriously reflected upon on which I don’t want to comment now.”

Also Read: Lok Sabha Election Result 2019

One leader, reported IE, said many seniors had “serious reservations on certain things which were put in the manifesto like dilution of AFSPA and all… in an election fought on hyper-nationalism, Pulwama, Balakot… you are saying that you will remove AFSPA and redeploy the Army… repeal the sedition law. And then you question Balakot and the Indian Air Force. It went down very badly with the people.”

“We failed to reached out to the youth… you can’t give them 6000 rupees… there was total disconnect,” another senior leader said. “People wanted to hear what is your message, vision… they did not want to hear nonsense… none of the senior leaders, from the very beginning, were in favour of usages like chowkidar chor hai, Gabbar Singh Tax and all… these are not Congress phraseology. What will happen if you rely on former JNU activists,” one senior leader said.

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Shiv Sena, BJP to fight Lok Sabha elections together: CM Eknath Shinde declares after meeting Amit Shah

Shinde informed the meeting was held with Shah yesterday night.

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Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Monday, posting a picture from his meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced the BJP and Shiv Sena to unitedly fight all the upcoming elections including the Lok Sabha elections in the state.

Shinde tweeted a picture, in which along with him and Shah, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis can also be seen.

Shinde informed the meeting was held with Shah yesterday night.

Shinde in the caption with the picture informed, in the meeting, it was decided that the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena in Maharashtra to contest all the upcoming elections in the state together, which includes the state assembly elections, local body elections and the mega 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Shinde added, for the sake of Maharashtra’s development, their alliance is strong and in the past 11 months of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, the government has taken major steps towards progress of the state and has also given permission to the policies that were at halt.

Confident Shinde said, in the future elections, they will contest together and will win with majority to make Maharashtra as the top ranking state in the country.

The Maharashtra CM further added, discussions related to agriculture and cooperative department also held in the meeting with Shah.

Shinde also hoped for the continuous guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards the implementation of policies for development of Maharashtra.

Shinde was a Thackeray family loyalist until last year, when he along with 15 other MLAs in a dramatic turn of events  went against then Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, which resulted to the the collapse of Maha Vikash Aghadi government in the state and the formation of BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government with Shinde taking over as the Chief Minister.

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Telugu Desam Party chief  Chandrababu Naidu meets Amit Shah, Nadda, speculation of BJP-TDP alliance

Reports said, both the parties may go into an alliance for the upcoming elections. The meeting between the leaders lasted for about half an hour.

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Chandrababu Naidu

Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday evening, met BJP president JP Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi to reportedly discuss an alliance ahead of the Telangana assembly election this year and 2024 general elections. The meeting lasted for an hour.

Reports said, both the parties may go into an alliance for the upcoming elections. The meeting between the leaders lasted for about half an hour.

During the Narendra Modi led NDA came to the power at Centre in 2014, Naidu’s TDP was a part of the alliance until March 2018, when it broke the alliance on the special status issue to Andhra Pradesh.

The decision that was taken by Naidu just before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he had then said it was in concern with the Centre overlooking Andhra Pradesh in the annual budget of the Centre.

Both the parties came together after the recent municipal elections in Port Blair. In March this year the Port-Blair municipal elections the TDP emerged as the kingmaker backing the BJP in the council formation.

If the two parties extended ties, it is expected to come as a shot in the arm for the BJP which has an aspiring target of expanding its footprint in Andhra Pradesh and and other southern region.

The Centre ruled party recently lost the Karnataka assembly elections, the lone southern state, where the party was in power.

However, the failure of the Karnataka Assembly elections has shifted BJP’s senior leadership’s attention to other states in South India, particularly Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, where the party does not want to give the Congress any influence.

Reports said, while the TDP has emerged as one of the key opposition parties in Telangana, it has struggled to find support among the politically dominant castes in Andhra Pradesh.

Amid the speculations of an alliance between the TDP and BJP, both the parties have been throwing signals about a possible alliance in the near future.

The TDP recently distanced itself from the opposition’s move to boycott the Parliament inauguration event and marked its presence.

Reports said, the BJP leadership has made Telangana the party’s priority in its Mission South and has advanced in the state’s local body elections.

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War of words breaks out between BJP, Congress over Rahul Gandhi’s saying Muslim League is a secular party

Former Congress President and MP Mr. Rahul Gandhi got criticized by the BJP Leaders in India after his comment on the Muslim League is completely secular

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Rahul Gandhi

Several BJP leaders were quick to pounce on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s comment at the National Press Club in Washington DC calling the Muslim League a secular party.

In his interaction in Washington DC, Rahul Gandhi said the Muslim League is a completely secular party and is in alliance with the Muslim League in Kerala as part of the United Democratic Front. Gandhi said there is nothing non-secular about the Muslim League and questioned the reporter’s knowledge about the Muslim League.

Senior BJP leaders said Rahul Gandhi is insulting India from foreign shores. Uttar Pradesh Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya said Rahul Gandhi should apologise for his comments and should speak about it to the people in India once he is here.

Union Minister Prahlad Singh Patel said he does not take Rahul Gandhi seriously and blamed the comment on a Congress tendency. He said the comment was dangerous as such seeds of division can grow up to be challenges to the country.

Former Law Minister and BJP leader Kiren Rijiju criticised Rahul Gandhi’s statement on the Muslim League’s secular character. BJP IT Cell chief Amit Malviya criticized Rahul Gandhi on Twitter.

In response, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera hit out at Malviya on Twitter and questioned the BJP IT Cell chief’s wisdom and awareness about the Muslim League. He schooled him about the difference between the Indian Union Muslim League in Kerala and the Muslim League of Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

During the Washington DC interaction, Rahul Gandhi held forth on various topics including the party’s chances in the 2024 Lok Sabha, the move for Opposition unity to take on the BJP and the perils of unemployment that has been encircling India. Gandhi said his party was holding regular dialogue with all Opposition parties, there is a lot of good work happening in that regard.

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