CHANDIGARH ; Three more state Congress chiefs resigned on Monday taking ‘moral responsibility’ for party’s poor performance in Lok Sabha elections , days after the PM Modi-led NDA swept to power bagging 352 of 542 seats .
These resignations take to six the number of party unit chiefs who have resigned after the its poor show in the Lok Sabah elections — the others being UP party chief Raj Babbar, Odisha’s Niranjan Patnaik and Ashok Chavan of Maharashtra.
Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jhakar emailed his resignation to Rahul Gandhi taking moral responsibility for losing to actor Sunny Deol from Gurdaspur though the party did reasonably well winning 8 of the states 13 seats as compared to 3 seats in 2014. The BJP and its ally SAD won two each.
Congress chief in Jharkhand, Ajoy Roy, sent in his resignation taking moral responsibility for the party’s poor show in the state where they won just one of the state’s 14 seats.
“PCC chief has taken moral responsibility of the party’s performance and sent his resignation on May 24. However, party’s performance was not that bad as we won Singhbhum comfortably and lost Khunti and Lohardaga by a wafer thin margin,” said Jharkhand Congress spokesperson Alok Dubey.
Congress lost in Khunti by 1,400 votes and Lohardaga with 10,000 votes.
The other party leader to quit was Assam unit chief Ripun Bora, who in a letter to Gandhi, wrote: ““whatever may be the reasons for this humiliating defeat of my party in Assam, my conscience doesn’t allow me to continue as president of Assam PCC (Pardesh Congress committee).”
Congress had won three–Kaliabor, Nagaon and Barpeta—of the 14 seats in the state, the same number as it had won in 2014. Nine seats went to BJP while All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and Independent bagged one seat each.
Congress had secured 29.9% of the total seats in 2014. In 2016 assembly polls, the party had bagged 30.96% votes. This time, its vote share increased to 35.44%.
“In spite of my best effort and hard work of all Congress workers of the state we have failed to show satisfactory result, except winning three seats,” Bora said in his letter.
While Congress president Rahul Gandhi himself offered to quit, which was rejected, at the CWC meeting on Saturday, a bunch of resignation landed on his table with four state leaders quitting or offering to quit.
Maharashtra unit president Ashok Chavan, who lost the Lok Sabha elections from Nanded, said he has submitted his resignation to Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday. Chavan’s offer came on the day the Congress Working Committee (CWC) authorised Gandhi to overhaul and restructure the party.
Chavan said the poll defeat was a “collective responsibility” and not that of Gandhi alone.
Uttar Pradesh, state from where the Congress president lost in shock defeat, state unit chief Raj Babbar sent his resignation to Gandhi taking responsibility for the poor show. “The results are depressing for the Uttar Pradesh Congress. I find myself guilty of not discharging my responsibility in a proper manner. I will meet the leadership and apprise it of my views,” Babbar tweeted in Hindi.
Yogendra Mishra, president of district Congress Committee- Amethi, the constituency that handed out a defeat to the Gandhi, also resigned taking responsibility for the defeat.
Rahul Gandhi lost Amethi to BJP’s Smriti Irani in the biggest upset of Lok Sabha election 2019. With this Amethi snapped its 39-year-old ties with the Gandhis that started in 1980 with Rahul Gandhi’s uncle Sanjay Gandhi contesting and winning this seat.
The Congress managed to hold on to just one seat in the state, that of Sonia Gandhi’s Rae Bareli.
Another leader who quit on Friday was Niranjan Patnaik, president, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee. “I too had contested the election, party had given me a responsibility, I take the moral responsibility for this debacle and relinquish this job. I’ve communicated it to my AICC President,” he said after the Congress managed leads in just one of the state’s 21 Lok Sabha seats and its tally came down to 9 from 16 of the outgoing assembly.
Karnataka Congress campaign committee president HK Patil also put in his papers writing to party president Rahul Gandhi, ‘It is time for all of us to introspect. I feel it my moral duty to own up the responsibility, hence, I submit my resignation from the post.’
In Karnataka, the state Congress rules in coalition with the JD(S), the grand old party just manage 1 seat as compared to 9 of 2014 with stalwarts like Mallikarjun Kharge and Veerappa Moily falling by the wayside. This was Kharge’s first electoral defeat in his political career spanning several decades. Moily, who was the Karnataka Chief Minister from 1992 -1994, was trounced by the BJP’s Bache Gowda.