A day after accusing then Congress chief Rahul Gandhi of ‘walking away’ after the numbing Lok Sabha election defeat, senior leader Salman Khurshid said on Wednesday that despite ‘pain and concern’ he will not leave the party. Once again targeting those who ‘walked away, Khurshid said he was not like them.
“I have very deep pain and concern about where we are today as a party. No matter what happens we won’t leave the party, we aren’t like those who got everything from the party and when the chips were down, things were difficult they left the party and walked away,” the Congress leader said, according to news agency ANI.
Khurshid, 66, had on Tuesday said that the departure of Rahul Gandhi as the party’s president after the defeat in the Lok Sabha elections has left everyone in a lurch. “We haven’t really got together to analyse why we got defeated. Our biggest problem is our leader has walked away,” Khurshid told Associated Press.
“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,” Khurshid had said.
Rahul Gandhi, who faced a personal setback when he lost to Smriti Irani in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi, quit soon after the party managed to win just 52 of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha elections that saw the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coming to power with impressive seats 303 up from 282 in 2014. Many attempts by leaders, as well as some allies of the Congress, to convince Rahul Gandhi to take back his resignation failed to yield any results. He, however, continues in Lok Sabha as an elected lawmaker from Kerala’s Wayanad.
The Congress finally picked Sonia Gandhi as the interim president. She had taken over as party leader in 1999 and led the Congress to two election victories in 2004 and 2009, after declining to be prime minister after the first win.