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Rahul won't budge, more leaders resign

NEW DELHI: Congress president Rahul Gandhi has categorically said that the party will have to find a new chief as he won't change his mind about stepping down from the post of the party chief. Gandhi, who informed the party about his decision to quit following the party's decimation in the Lok Sabha polls, has refused to meet the party's newly-elected lawmakers who called on him. All his meetings and appointments have been cancelled, though he met two envoys from the party.

As per party insiders, the Congress chief has asked senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel and KC Venugopal to find out his replacement as soon as possible.

Adding to the woes of the party, Congress' state unit chiefs of Jharkhand, Assam and Punjab have also resigned in addition to those from Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha. Karnataka Pradesh Campaign Committee chairman HK Patil has also called it quits.

Sources close to Rahul Gandhi said he is "not abandoning the post" even though he is determined to quit. He will give the party time to choose a new person for the top job.

Rahul Gandhi's mother Sonia Gandhi and sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra reportedly agree with his decision - they had initially tried to get him to change his mind - and acknowledge that the Congress "has to come to terms with the fact that there has to be a change of guard" and a total overhaul.

Meanwhile, in a statement on Monday, the Congress has asked the media to "respect the sanctity" of the closed-door meeting of its working committee and "not fall into the trap of conjectures or speculations and await the calibrated efforts by the Congress party towards a future course of action".

The statement came after reports that at the Working Committee on Saturday, Rahul Gandhi did some tough-talking, reminding party leaders that they had put their sons before the party and "pushed" for their candidature in the Lok Sabha polls

The state unit chiefs who have sent their resignations on Monday include Sunil Jhakar (Punjab), Ajoy Kumar (Jharkhand), Ripun Bora (Assam), while others have already sent their resignations are Ashok Chavan (Maharashtra unit chief), Raj Babbar (Uttar Pradesh unit chief), Niranjan Patnaik (Odisha unit chief).

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