1:57 am - Sunday November 8, 2015

After Colossal Defeat, Entire Congress Working Committee May Resign: Sources

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Sonia_Gandhi_360_Rahul_Gandhi_360_smiling_16May14_AP

New Delhi: The top leaders of the Congress party will meet this evening to try and make sense of the party’s electoral humiliation. Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, the Congress bosses, have ratcheted up the party’s worst performance ever, but their colleagues have made it clear that while a detailed post-mortem will be conducted, the First Family will be shielded from direct blame.

There are reports that the Gandhis, will offer to step down when the Congress Working Committee meets this evening – but their resignation would almost certainly be rejected by colleagues. Party sources say that all 34 members of the of the party’s highest decision-making body, the Congress Working Committee, could quit in a gesture of “collective responsibility.”

Kamal Nath, the most senior Congress parliamentarian, told NDTV on Sunday that only internal democracy could end “the culture of patronage” He added, Why blame Rahul alone? He should not resign.”

The Congress slumped to its worst-ever defeat last week, claiming just 44 seats in the 543-member parliament, as the opposition BJP and its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, swept to power with the first majority in 30 years.

While accepting responsibility on Friday for what he described as the Congress doing “pretty badly”, Mr Gandhi’s smile baffled many.

The role of his key advisers including Jairam Ramesh may be faulted at this evening’s Working Committee meeting.

Mrs Gandhi, the 67-year-old Congress party president, entrusted campaigning to her son, whose lacklustre performance failed to convince voters as Congress sought a third term in power.

Its defeat has been attributed to a sharp economic slowdown, rising food prices and a slew of corruption scandals, as well as Mr Gandhi, 43, being comprehensively overshadowed by BJP leader Narendra Modi.

The BJP leader assailed the dynastic rule of the Gandhis and tapped into widespread hunger for jobs and development, while offering a message of aspiration and ambition to the young electorate.

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