"Rahul Gandhi Has Accepted The Defeat," Says Congress Leader Shashi Tharoor

"Rahul Gandhi Has Accepted The Defeat," Says Congress Leader Shashi Tharoor

"Rahul Gandhi Has Accepted The Defeat," Says Congress Leader Shashi Tharoor

New Delhi: Shashi Tharoor senior leader of Congress on Monday explained the party's insistence on having the Gandhi family in the leadership role, saying the party has felt for "some time" that they have been "effective". 

He also underscored that with several state elections due to come up this year, there is no time for the Congress to "sit and mope".

The Congress's leadership question has been thrown wide open following the party's crushing defeat in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections - it's second after the worst-ever performance in 2014 when the party could bag only 44 Lok Sabha seats.

Party chief Rahul Gandhi has been insistent on his decision to step down from the post and despite party leaders' repeated refusal, asked it to look for a replacement. He has also made it clear that the replacement cannot be his mother or sister.

The Congress has been led mostly by members of the Nehru-Gandhi family since Independence. It did not do well under Sitaram Kesri - who took over after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi for a few years -- and several leaders convinced Sonia Gandhi to take over.

Rahul Gandhi, Mr. Tharoor said, has impressed everyone by his willingness to take responsibilities. That he is serious on the resignation, shows "he is taking it on the chin and taking it personally," he added.

But Mr. Tharoor also emphasized that the issues facing the party are "too important to be reduced to a question of an individual" and "it is unfair to Rahul Gandhi and to the Congress party".

Mr. Gandhi has been firm on his resolve - announced at the closed-door meeting of the Working Committee on Saturday. On Monday, he categorically told a couple of senior leaders that the party should look for his replacement.

"The party president has taken his stand. We just have to watch that space and see what comes out of it," Mr. Tharoor said.