Mumbai | The Congress’ massive defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls was a “collective responsibility” and not that of party chief Rahul Gandhi alone, Maharashtra state unit chief Ashok Chavan said Saturday.
Chavan added that there was no question of accepting Gandhi’s resignation as party chief.
Chavan himself lost from Nanded Lok Sabha seat to BJP’s Pratap Chiklikar.
“The campaign was a collective responsibility. Rahul Gandhi worked hard and led from the front. All senior leaders in states who hold positions in the state units should quit, so that a new team can take over. My colleagues and I are ready to resign due to the poor show of the Congress in Maharashtra,” Chavan told reporters here.
The Congress was reduced to just one seat in Maharashtra, with Suresh Dhanorkar winning from Chandrapur.
The state has 48 Lok Sabha seats, the highest after Uttar Pradesh’s 80.
“There is no dissension in the party. Everyone was taken into confidence while taking decisions regarding the elections. We will act against those responsible for anti- party activities. A report has been sought,” Chavan added.
Chavan admitted that the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Agadhi (VBA), which has the AIMIM as a constituent, had cost the Congress-NCP alliance “nine to ten seats”.
Chavan called the VBA the “B team of the BJP”.
Chavan lost in Nanded by 40,000 votes and the VBA candidate there managed to poll around one lakh votes.
Chavan expressed confidence that Assembly polls, scheduled in the state later this year, would be a different story and the Congress would do well.
The party’s highest decision-making body, the Congress Working Committee, meanwhile met in Delhi Saturday to review the party’s drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls.
The CWC meeting, chaired by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, is being attended by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Uttar Pradesh (East) in-charge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and chief ministers of four party-ruled states — Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh — and of the Union Territory Puducherry.
There were speculations that Congress president might offer his resignation taking moral responsibility for the party’s poor performance in the polls.