KPCC chief: It’s up to Rahul to decide on my position

Dinesh Gundu Rao takes responsibility for Congress debacle, but does not offer to resign

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president Dinesh Gundu Rao on Saturday took responsibility for the crushing defeat of his party in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, but stopped short of offering to resign as the State party president.

“I will submit a detailed report on the outcome of the Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka to Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Let him take the decision on my position in the party,” Mr. Rao told presspersons here.

Declining to reveal the content of the report, he said, “I am a disciplined soldier of the party and functioning as per protocol.” The AICC meeting held on Saturday in New Delhi has authorised Mr. Gandhi to overhaul the party organisation, Mr. Rao noted.

The KPCC chief congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his party’s victory and admitted that the poll results were “not expected in the wildest dreams”. He said that a combination of factors had caused the party’s and alliance’s defeat. “We accept the peoples’ mandate. But being the president of the KPCC, I will take moral responsibility for the party’s defeat. Otherwise, my conscience will not be clear.”

Noting many challenges for the party in the future, Mr. Rao said the electorate voted differently in the byelections in Chincholi and Kundagol and the general elections. “Despite many failures of the NDA government during 2014-19, the electorate voted for the BJP. The BJP leaders bypassed economic and employment issues. Security and Hindutva became the main poll issues to woo the electorate,” he said.

Acknowledging that strained relations between the Congress and JD(S) was one of the factors for the worst ever show, he said the Congress had performed poorly despite having party governments in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. “In different States, different factors worked for the BJP. The coalition government is stable and it will continue to function smoothly. No party MLA will quit the Congress at this juncture,” the KPCC chief claimed.

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