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Posted at: Jul 21, 2019, 6:55 AM; last updated: Jul 21, 2019, 6:55 AM (IST)

Let’s honour Rahul’s decision and move on

Karan Singh
GUEST COLUMN
Karan Singh
We should not forget that the Congress received 12 crore votes in the recent Lok Sabha elections, and thousands of party workers around the country can’t be left leaderless
Let’s honour Rahul’s decision and move on
Rahul Gandhi has steadfastly thwarted all efforts to make him withdraw his resignation. AFP

Karan Singh

In the confusion following the resignation of Rahul Gandhi as the Congress president, we have to keep one point in mind: The resurrection and regeneration of the Indian National Congress is important not only for the grand old party itself, but also for the broader national interest. The Congress alone can provide a national-level Opposition to the BJP juggernaut. Without the Congress, we will be left with only a few regional parties, and a situation where just one party will dominate. 

In a parliamentary democracy, a strong and effective Opposition is essential both at the national and state level. And that makes the confusion within the Congress all the more unfortunate. In fact, the Congress constitution, as updated in 2010, has a paragraph which clearly deals with the present contingency. It reads as follows:

“In the event of any emergency by reason of any cause such as the death or resignation of the president elected as above, the seniormost general secretary will discharge the routine function of the president until the working committee appoints a provisional president pending the election of a regular president by the AICC.”

This being the case, there was no reason for the working committee to have taken so long to come up with a new leadership structure. I have suggested that in addition to an interim president until the AICC elects a regular one, we should have four zonal vice-presidents. This would enable a broader spectrum of leaders from around the country, including younger people, to take over the party reins. Thereafter, what is needed is a comprehensive restructuring of party office-bearers, including general secretaries and PCC presidents. This will be the opportunity to phase out those who may have rendered valuable services to the party in the past but are unable to do so now in the face of the present challenges.

In his statement on July 3, Rahul Gandhi had the following paragraph:

“Immediately after resigning, I suggested to my colleagues in the Congress Working Committee that the way forward would be to entrust a group of people with the task of beginning the search for a new president. I have empowered them to do so and committed my full support to this process and a smooth transition.”

In the light of these provisions, I see no reason as to why even seven weeks after Rahul Gandhi announced his intention to resign at the working committee meeting on May 25, there has been no forward movement. I do appreciate that Congresspersons around the country were genuinely anxious and wanted him to withdraw his resignation, but it was unrealistic on their part to expect a man of principles to do so. As a result, several weeks were wasted in efforts to pressurise him.  

Rahul Gandhi is a fine young man who has many years of political activity ahead of him. His bold decision to take responsibility for the Congress defeat by resigning from his post is in keeping with the best parliamentary traditions round the world. We should honour his decision and move on. A vacuum at this stage when several state elections are round the corner is a sure recipe for disaster.

It is now for the working committee to do what is required as per the party constitution.  Already, there is a sense of disappointment and disorientation among the party workers around the country.  Let us not forget that the Congress received 12 crore votes in the recent Lok Sabha elections, and that there are thousands of Congress workers around the country who cannot be left leaderless.  Any further delay will surely accelerate the negative spiral in which this great party finds itself. This can’t be allowed, we have to snap out of the present impasse and collectively move towards reviving the inner spirit and outer structure of the party based on its liberal, progressive and inclusive philosophy.

— The writer is a veteran Congress leader

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