Lucknow: Ahead of Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s announcement of his new team, resignations have begun in the party with actor-politician Raj Babbar now quitting as party’s Uttar Pradesh Congress chief. A source close to the party was quoted as saying that Babbar has been asked to continue on his post till a new state unit chief is elected by the party.
This comes days after Rahul Gandhi was authorised to nominate the Congress Working Committee (CWC).
The 2000-odd All India Congress Committee (AICC) delegates had on Sunday raised their hands to unanimously authorise Gandhi to reconstitute the CWC, putting an end to speculation that the new chief will take the election route to form the party’s highest decision-making body.
As per the Congress Constitution, 12 of the 25 CWC members have to be elected by AICC delegates and the rest are appointed by the Congress president.
The CWC has not witnessed any election in more than two decades now. The last time the CWC witnessed a contest was in 1997 during the Kolkata plenary and prior to that in 1992 at the Tirupati session.
Nervousness among veterans over the possible generational shift and the proposed reforms in the organisational structure had been getting increasingly palpable since Gandhi was anointed as party vice-president in January 2013.
Raj Babbar’s resignation points to the this nervousness in the old guard of the party after Rahul formally took over as Congress chief.
Babbar’s resignation is also being linked to party’s worst performance in recent Lok Sabha bypolls to Gorakhpur and Phulpur.
The two seats hold importance in state politics and the bypolls there were necessitated after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath resigned from his Gorakhpur seat to form BJP government in the state, and Phulpur representative Keshav Prasad Maurya stepped down to take the post of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister.
Earlier on Monday, Goa Congress president Shantaram Naik too resigned from his post.
Goa Congress president Shantaram Naik resigned from his post, saying he was “inspired” by Rahul Gandhi’s speech at the party plenary about making way for younger leaders.
Naik, 71, is the first senior Congress leader to resign after Rahul Gandhi announced on Sunday in his concluding speech that he wants to give the younger generation a chance to come forward and lead the party.
Naik sent his resignation to the All India Congress Committee, ending his stint as Goa pradesh congress committee president since July 8, 2017, when he had replaced senior party leader Luizinho Faleiro.
“I have resigned from the post of Goa Congress chief to pave the way for the younger generation to come forward.
“I was inspired by party chief Rahul Gandhi’s speech at the plenary session, where he said he wanted to give chance to the younger generation,” he told PTI.
During the session, the entire stage was empty and only those who were delivering speech used to go up and do it from the podium, he said.
“Everyone including Sonia Gandhi was off the dais,” Naik told PTI.
“When Rahul Gandhi went to deliver the speech, he said the stage is kept empty so as to let the younger generation take over the reins. My resignation is to make way for the young leadership to take over,” the former MP said.
Naik was elected to Lok Sabha in 1984 from North Goa constituency and twice to Rajya Sabha later. Congress, with 16 legislators, is currently the main Opposition in the Goa Legislative Assembly.
Naik said he was turning 72 and wanted the young to now lead the party.
(With Agency inputs)