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Rajasthan Cong endorses CWC resolution, asks Rahul to continue as party president

Rajasthan Cong endorses CWC resolution, asks Rahul to continue as party president

(Eds: Merges related stories, adds details) Jaipur, May 29 (PTI) The Rajasthan Congress Wednesday passed a resolution asking Rahul Gandhi to continue as the party president and carry out radical organisational changes following the Lok Sabha election debacle. The state units executive committee endorsed the resolution by the Congress Working Committee (CWC) in New Delhi, rejecting Gandhis offer to step down as president. Gandhis insistence on quitting the post has thrown the Congress into turmoil and the Rajasthan meeting was among the attempts made by the party to make him change its mind. The unanimous resolution by the executive committee of the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC)was addressed to Rahul Gandhi. It said the party had full confidence in Gandhi, urging him to continue with his effective leadership. "The pradesh Congress executive committee accepts all those challenges, failures and shortcomings which led to this mandate," AICC general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan Avinash Pande told reporters, reading out the resolution. He said all members of the executive committee also authorised the Congress president to carry out "radical organisational changes". "The Congress has lost the elections but our courage, spirit of struggle and commitment towards our principles is stronger than before," he said. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and deputy chief minister and state Congress president Sachin Pilot were among about a dozen office bearers who attended the meeting at the party headquarters here. It was the first meeting of the partys Rajasthan unit after the Congress lost on all 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Rajasthan Congress president Sachin Pilot said the party will analyse the reasons behind people voting for the BJP, just months after they elected a Congress government in the state. Pilot has asked party leaders and workers to start a mass contact programme across the state. "We have accepted the people's mandate humbly. Even the Congress president has accepted it, he said. "The Congress will definitely introspect to see where changes and action are required. It will be our effort that Congress gains further strength," he said. The poll debacle also appeared to deepen the rift within the party in Rajasthan between Pilots supporters and those who back Ashok Gehlot. Some state leaders have openly expressed their disappointment over the partys performance in Rajasthan. Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee secretary Sushil Asopa has said on Facebook that Pilot should have been made chief minister instead of Ashok Gehlot. Rajasthan ministers Udai Lal Anjana and Ramesh Meena had also demanded a detailed analysis of the defeat. There is speculation over Agriculture Minister Lalchand Kataria resignation after a purported press release said he is quitting. The minister has neither confirmed nor denied this, but the Chief Ministers Office says it has not received any resignation letter. PTI AG SDA RKD SNE ASHASH