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Sonia, Rahul to attend oath-taking ceremony

NEW DELHI: Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi will attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi's oath ceremony Thursday.

Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi's decision stands out after an acrimonious election that saw PM Modi and other BJP leaders vociferously targeting them as well as Priyanka Gandhi Vadra; the Gandhi siblings hitting right back.

PM Modi was condemned by the opposition for targeting even former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi - Sonia Gandhi's husband - who was assassinated in 1991 by an LTTE suicide bomber.

The BJP, led by PM Modi, won a staggering victory in the national election and a clear mandate to retain power for a second term - a feat achieved only by the likes of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi in the past.

The Congress, at the same time, has suffered a humiliating defeat and has been drubbed in 18 states and union territories. The party is in an existential crisis that has intensified with Rahul Gandhi's refusal to continue as Congress president after the decimation, and his insistence that a non-Gandhi should lead the organization for a change.

Since Saturday, the Congress has been trying to persuade Rahul Gandhi to change his mind.

With the Congress president firm on his decision to step down, the party's Rajasthan unit has passed a resolution urging him to stay put as the party chief.

Flanked by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot, AICC general secretary in charge of Rajasthan Avinash Pande said besides endorsing the Congress Working Committee's resolution asking Gandhi to continue as party chief, the state unit has requested him to steer the party out of its current state.

As the Lok Sabha poll debacle pushed the ruling Congress-JDS coalition in Karnataka into a greater turmoil, leaders of the two parties on Wednesday held intense consultations to avert a potential existential crisis to the one-year-old H D Kumaraswamy ministry.

Rushed here by the party high command on a damage control mission, Congress general secretary K C Venugopal held meetings with Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and senior party leaders and ministers to save the coalition from a renewed BJP onslaught. See P5

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