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Congress can bounce back under Rahul Gandhi says Rawat

By Anuj Cariappa

New Delhi, June 14: A day after the Congress asserted that Rahul Gandhi will remain party president, senior leader Harish Rawat said the statement reflected the party workers' sentiment who believed that under Gandhi's leadership the party can go from defeat to victory.

Gandhi was, is and will remain the Congress president, chief spokesperson of the party Randeep Surjewala had said on Wednesday, ending the speculation triggered by his insistence to quit the post for the time being.

File photo of Harish Rawat

Surjewala's assertion came after an informal meeting presided by former Union minister A K Antony, in which senior Congress leaders discussed the party's strategy and preparations for the assembly elections in Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand and Maharashtra later this year.

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Gandhi had offered to quit as the party chief during a May 25 meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), which was called to analyse the party's poor performance in the Lok Sabha polls, in which it managed to win just 52 seats.

The CWC had unanimously rejected his offer to quit but Gandhi was apparently firm on his stand.

"I would like to reiterate what Mr Surjewala said yesterday that Rahul Gandhi was, is and will remain the Congress president. This is also the sentiment of the Congress workers and they believe that under his leadership the party can go from defeat to victory," Rawat said.

"We were not successful, but by strengthening the organisation, we can mount a challenge to the RSS-BJP's malicious propaganda," the former Uttarakhand chief minister said.

At a press conference here, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi also reiterated Surjewala's statement and said there "is status quo" in the situation since the statement on Wednesday.

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Following Gandhi's insistence on quitting, there is a speculation on the need to put in place an interim arrangement in the Congress for decision-making, especially in the run-up to the assembly elections.

However, most leaders have been hoping that Gandhi will continue to lead the party as the Nehru-Gandhi family acts as a "glue" that binds the Congress together.

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