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Salman Khurshid On Rahul Gandhi, "Problem Is Our Leader Has Walked Away"
As the Congress gasps for survival after its second straight national election defeat, infighting in several states and an exodus of party leaders, a senior leader has said that the "biggest problem" is that Rahul Gandhi "walked away".
Salman Khurshid On Rahul Gandhi, "Problem Is Our Leader Has Walked Away" (file image)
New Delhi: The Congress party's senior leader Salman Khurshid recently said that the "biggest problem" is that Rahul Gandhi "walked away". A former union minister, Mr Khurshid is quoted by the Associated Press as saying that the 49-year-old "left in a huff" and his mother Sonia Gandhi appears to be treating herself as a stop-gap until a new Congress chief is chosen, possibly after the October state polls.
"We haven't really got together to analyze why we got defeated. Our biggest problem is our leader has walked away," Mr Khurshid was quoted as saying in the AP report, and adding that Rahul Gandhi still retained 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," Mr Khurshid reportedly said.
This is the first time that Rahul Gandhi's decision to quit has been described as "walking away", a term also seen to imply that he left at a time the party needed to examine how it crashed.
The 66 year old former union minister is a prominent leader from Uttar Pradesh, which came to represent the Congress's abject downfall in the national election; the party went from two to only one of 80 seats in India's most populous and politically vital state and Rahul Gandhi lost Amethi, his parliamentary seat since he debuted in elections in 2004.
The Congress, despite Mr Gandhi's aggressive campaign, could win only 52 seats across the country, compared to the BJP's gigantic 303.
Soon after the elections, Mr Gandhi announced his decision to quit as Congress president, a post that he had taken in 2017 from his mother Sonia Gandhi, the party's chief for 19 years.
No amount of cajoling by top leaders could bring him around, and in August, his mother was asked to take over as interim chief.
The problem between the party kept on growing after the elections, with a forced vacancy at the top, the divides within became more and more pronounced. The party lost power in Karnataka after multiple exits.
Not only this, the senior leaders of the party have either publicly revolted or quit and switched to the rival BJP, in Maharashtra and Haryana, which will vote on October 21.
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