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Rahul Gandhi officially resigns as Congress President; says 'thank you' in open letter

Rahul Gandhi said today it was "an honour to serve the Congress party" in a letter, he tweeted hours after declaring that he was no longer the party president. The designation of "President" also vanished from his Twitter bio, which now says "Member of Congress and Member of Parliament". A new Congress president will be chosen "within a week", party sources said, indicating an acceptance, finally, in the ranks that Rahul Gandhi will not return as their chief.

"It is an honour for me to serve the Congress Party, whose values and ideals have served as the lifeblood of our beautiful nation. I owe the country and my organisation a debt of tremendous gratitude and love," he wrote in what was widely seen as an open letter of resignation.

"As president of the Congress party, I am responsible for the loss of the 2019 election. Accountability is critical for the future growth of our party. It is for this reason that I have resigned as Congress president."

Rahul Gandhi, 49, said rebuilding the party would need hard decisions and "numerous people will have to be made accountable for the failure of 2019" but it would be unjust to hold others accountable and "ignore" his own responsibility.

He said he had tasked a group of people to search for a new president.

The letter also focused on other factors in his loss, commenting that he "personally fought the prime minister, the RSS and the institutions they captured with all my being". 

"The Prime Minister's win does not negate the breadth of corruption allegations against him; no amount of money and propaganda can ever hide the light of the truth," he wrote. "My fight has never been a simple battle for political power. I have no hatred or anger towards the BJP but every living cell in my body instinctively resists their idea of India."

He appeared to question whether a free press, an independent judiciary and a transparent election commission were missing in election 2019. "The stated objective of the RSS, the capture of our country's institutional structure, is now complete," he said, referring to the ruling BJP's ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Fearing that there was a real danger that elections would become a mere ritual "from now on", he said: "This capture of power will result in unimaginable levels of violence and pain for India. Farmers, unemployed youngsters, women, tribals, Dalits and minorities are going to suffer the most."  

He ended with a call for his party to "radically transform" itself.

Earlier today, he had told reporters that the Congress should choose a new president "quickly and without further delay" and that he was not part of the process at all as he had already resigned.

"I'm nowhere in this process. I have already submitted my resignation and I am no longer the party president," said the 49-year-old.

He explained in his letter: "Most of my colleagues suggested that I nominate the next Congress president. While it is important for someone new to lead the party, it would not be correct for me to select that person".

His words indicated that a non-Gandhi may take charge of the grand old party that has mostly been headed by members of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. 

Rahul Gandhi said the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party's top decision-making body, should call a meeting at the earliest and decide on a new chief.

Rahul Gandhi, who took over as chief from his mother Sonia Gandhi in 2017, quit as Congress president on May 25, days after leading the party to its second national election drubbing. The party could win only 52 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha, pulverized once again in the face of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP's massive victory. 

Taking responsibility for the rout, Rahul Gandhi also criticized party leaders for weakening the Congress campaign by placing their own interests above the party. 

In the weeks since Rahul Gandhi quit, there have been a rash of resignations in the Congress across the country.

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