INDIA

Gandhis' offer to quit rejected by Congress party after election defeat

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 May, 2014, 1:10am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 May, 2014, 6:09pm
AFP

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India's Sonia and Rahul Gandhi offered to resign yesterday after leading the Congress party to its worst election defeat, only for colleagues to insist the dynasty stay in place, a lawmaker said.

Congress won just 44 seats in the 543-member parliament as the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took power.

Sonia, the 67-year-old Congress party president, entrusted campaigning to her son and vice-president Rahul, whose lacklustre performance failed to convince voters as Congress sought a third term in power.

"They both offered to resign but the party rejected it unanimously," lawmaker Amarinder Singh said after a meeting of Congress leaders in New Delhi.

The Congress Working Committee passed a unanimous resolution expressing "full faith" in their leadership.

The Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has provided three prime ministers, including independent India's first, but analysts are increasingly questioning if it is the vote-winner it used to be.

"Economic growth and social mobility have radically transformed how younger Indians think and behave," historian Ramachandra Guha wrote.

"No longer so deferential … they ask for evidence of Rahul Gandhi's own contributions apart from his family lineage. These are few."