Gandhi quits as head of main India opposition party
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Rahul Gandhi has stepped down as the head of India's main opposition Congress, party, amid fallout from poor results during recent elections that reinforced right-wing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s power for a second term.
"As president of the Congress party, I am responsible for the loss of the 2019 election," said Gandhi on social media. "Accountability is critical for the future growth of our party. It is for this reason that I have resigned as Congress president."
Gandhi, 49, had ambitions to become prime minister, which would have made him the fourth of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.
The Congress party has been at the forefront of Indian politics since independence in 1948. But when Rahul Gandhi took over in 2017, its influence was already in steady decline.
His resignation was expected. After the party’s defeat in the national elections, he said he would not continue as leader.
The former Congress leader used the opportunity to attack Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), implying that the vote had not been entirely free and fair, adding that the Indian media, judiciary and election commission had skewed towards the opposition.
BJP increased its majority, taking 303 seats in the last vote.
"We didn't fight a political party in the 2019 election. Rather, we fought the entire machinery of the Indian state," he said, adding that the BJP was trying to “destroy the fabric of our nation.”
Modi’s ‘Hindu-first’ policies have angered the religious minorities in world’s largest democracy.
"I have no hatred or anger towards the BJP but every living cell in my body instinctively resists their idea of India," said Gandhi.