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West Bengal Congress chief Somen Mitra offered to quit after Lok Sabha poll debacle, says party

File photo of Congress leader Somen Mitra. | IANS

West Bengal Congress President Somen Mitra had offered to resign from his post in May after the party’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections, the state unit said on Tuesday.

The party said it had refused to accept Mitra’s resignation and requested him to continue in the post. “On May 24, during a party meeting on Lok Sabha poll results, Mitra had taken full responsibility for the party’s dismal performance and has expressed his desire to quit, but was stopped by party colleagues from doing so,” the party said. “He [Mitra] said his appointment was given by Shri Rahul Gandhi and when Rahul ji is not willing to be Congress president, there is no meaning in continuing as PCC president.”

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The party won two of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state, down from four in 2014.

According to the party, All India Congress Committee leader Gaurav Gogoi, who is in charge of party affairs in the state, rejected Mitra’s resignation. “He [Gogoi] also advised to start working as PCC president with all new efforts,” the state unit added. “Congress Working Committee will take decision soon on the permanent solution over Congress President very soon. Then the party will decide about the committees in the states.”

A number of Congress leaders and workers across the country have stepped down from their posts and quit the party in recent weeks, following Rahul Gandhi’s decision to not take back his resignation.

On Monday, more than 40 party leaders and workers in Bharuch, Gujarat, quit the party after alleging inaction by party president Parimalsinh Rana. “We wanted Rana to allow us to organise a programme to condemn the stone pelting incident on Rath Yatra procession in Bharuch,” The Indian Express quoted Bharuch City Congress General Secretary Dhiren Katariya as saying. “However, there was no positive response from him. As a result, we have resigned today [Monday]. Eighteen leaders and party workers have already quit as our sentiments were hurt.” Rana confirmed that the resignations were accepted as the party leaders were firm on their decision to resign.

This came a day after Mumbai Congress President Milind Deora resigned from his post. All India Congress Committee General Secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia also announced his resignation the same day.

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