India’s opposition leader, Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday resigned from his position taking responsibility for the party’s second-straight landslide defeat to right-wing Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi in national elections.
He posted on his Twitter account, ”Accountability is critical for the future growth of our party. It is for this reason that I have resigned as Congress president.”
Gandhi, who was seeking to become the fourth member of his family dynasty to become prime minister, had been Congress president since December 2017.
Congress has dominated Indian politics since independence in 1948, but it has seen a spectacular collapse in support in the past decade.
Gandhi said immediately after his party’s defeat in the April-May national elections that he would not continue as leader, but party barons had hoped to change his mind and Wednesday’s official announcement still came as a surprise.
Congress won only 52 of the 543 seats in the lower house of parliament in the election. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took 303 seats, increasing its majority as it won a second consecutive five-year term.
Gandhi said, “Rebuilding the party requires hard decisions and numerous people will have to be made accountable for the failure of 2019.
“It would be unjust to hold others accountable but ignore my own responsibility ”
Gandhi accused the BJP, however, of seeking to “destroy the fabric of our nation” and vowed to “protect” the country until his “last breath”.
“I have no hatred or anger towards the BJP but every living cell in my body instinctively resists their idea of India,” he said.