File photo of Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
Sources also said that the CWC passed a resolution authorising Gandhi to restructure the party.
At the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Saturday, party president Rahul Gandhi offered to resign in the wake of humiliating defeat at the hands of the BJP in Lok Sabha elections. The proposal was, however, rejected but not without drama.
Gandhi insisted at the meeting that he wants to resign as Congress president saying he wants to fight for the party, strengthen it and he doesn't have to be the party president to do that, said Congress sources. He also said that he doesn't want a Gandhi to be the Congress president, ruling out Priyanka's name too, said sources.
But the proposal was rejected unanimously and the party stuck to its tradition of not looking beyond the Nehru-Gandhi family. It is very similar to what happened in 2014 when Sonia Gandhi, the then Congress president, had offered to resign after the party's loss in Lok Sabha elections.
Sources also said that the CWC passed a resolution today authorising Gandhi to restructure the party.
Rahul Gandhi left the meeting venue without saying anything to the medipersons outside. But senior party leaders maintained that his leadership was not questioned.
The meeting of CWC, the party's highest decision-making body, was called to deliberate upon the reasons behind the party's electoral debacle and discuss as to why its poll narrative failed to convince the people.
"I don't agree that it was a disastrous performance, but we were not able to rise up to the expectations. Party will discuss this in details...Today we had only general discussions," Congress leader AK Antony said.
The meeting, chaired by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, was attended by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Uttar Pradesh (East) in-charge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and chief ministers of four party-ruled states - Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh - and of the Union Territory Puducherry.
Senior leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram was also present in the meeting alongside other party colleagues including AK Antony, Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sheila Dikshit, Mallikarjun Kharge, Ambika Soni, Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Watch: Why did Congress' strategy fail?
Though the Congress improved on its 2014 tally of 44, it could win just 52 Lok Sabha seats this year. In 18 states and Union Territories, the party could not open its account.
Some of the Congress leaders have sent their resignations to Rahul Gandhi in the wake of the party's poll defeat. Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar and Odisha Congress president Niranjan Patnaik are among them.