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Rahul steps down: "Will remain my leader", says Ahmed Patel; How did others react?


New Delhi, July 03: Rahul Gandhi officially conforming that he would indeed step down as the Congress chief elicited wide range of reactions from leaders across political parties. Gandhi took full responsibility for party's abyssmal performance in 2019 Lok Sabha elections and wrote in a Twitter post that "accountability is critical for the future growth of our party."

File photo of Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi reportedly made it clear on May 25 itself that would step down as the Congress chief, but many top party leaders asked him not to and some even staged sit-ins in front of his residence.

Senior Congress leader and former union minister Salman Khurshid said Rahul Gandhi would continue to remain "our leader".

"He left office of party president, he doesn't cease to be our leader. Sonia Gandhi is not president anymore but she remains our leader. By way of natural standing they will continue to have admiration, affection, confidence of party workers in them," Khurshid told ANI.

"It is very sad to see him quit as he put in enormous effort and at one point, we felt he caught the pulse and we saw a return of the Congress. Reluctantly we have to accept it. If he has announced it, his advice sadly has to be followed. We will put our heads together and do our best," Salman Khurshid added.

BJP leaders took a stand that it was Congress' internal matter and refrained from politicising the matter.

"It is upto him whether he continues or resigns. There are 2 types of parties, one like the BJP which is run by democracy, on the other hand you have family driven parties like the Congress. So it is for them to decide, we have no role," BJP's Nalin Kohli said.

Asserting that he was no longer the Congress president, Gandhi on Wednesday said it had been an honour to serve the party, the values and ideals of which had served as the "lifeblood of this beautiful nation". As the president of the Congress, he said he was responsible for the party's debacle in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

[Rahul Gandhi pens 4-page emotional letter after saying he's not Congress chief]

"We request him to take back his resignation because we know his struggle," Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan Sachin Pilot said.

In a four-page letter shared on Twitter, Gandhi said accountability was critical for the future growth of the party.

"It is for this reason that I have resigned as Congress president," he said in the letter.

Gandhi, who suggested that the Congress Working Committee (CWC) be entrusted with the task of finding a new party president and it would not be correct for him to select his successor, also said he owed the country and his organisation a debt of tremendous gratitude and love.

Former Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken said even after his resignation, Gandhi would remain the voice of the party's workers. "We are proud to have @RahulGandhi ji as our leader! Congress President or not, he would always be the voice of millions of Congress workers and those who believe in its ideology! Rahul ji has taken a right decision-and we support him," he said in a tweet.

[Will Sushil Kumar Shinde replace Rahul Gandhi as new Congress chief?]

Expressing disappointment over Rahul Gandhi's resignation as Congress president, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said Rahul Gandhi should have continued to lead the party with the same dynamism and fighting spirit with which he had steered the election campaign.

"It is a difficult time for the party, but together, we will get through it, to come out stronger and bigger, with Rahul's vision continuing to guide us," Singh said.

"We will once again request Rahul Gandhi to continue as the president of the party, whenever Congress Working Committee (CWC) holds a meeting," senior Congress leader Motilal Vohra told ANI.

Senior leader Ahmed Patel said that Rahul Gandhi made made tremendous contribution in strengthening the party in a short span of time.

"Rahul ji's resignation letter is unfortunate. We all are accountable for this defeat. He has, in a short span, already made tremendous contribution in strengthening the party and we all believe his endeavour should continue...He (Rahul Gandhi) is and will remain my leader, our leader & will continue to provide solid strength for the Congress," he told, as quoted by ANI.

"Rahul Gandhi toured entire country, and struggled to strengthen the org. He has done his best. He has taken moral responsibility. I requested but he has taken moral stand for defeat but he is not going to retire, he's going to work for party," said former prime minister and JD (S) president HD Deve Gowda.

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