Gandhi announced his resignation on Twitter, saying he was stepping down because accountability is "critical for the future growth of our party."

Rahul Gandhi, president of India's main opposition Congress party, looks up before releasing his party's election manifesto for the April/May general election in New Delhi, India, April 2, 2019.
Rahul Gandhi, president of India's main opposition Congress party, looks up before releasing his party's election manifesto for the April/May general election in New Delhi, India, April 2, 2019. (Reuters)

Rahul Gandhi resigned as president of India's opposition Congress party on Wednesday, taking responsibility for the crushing defeat of the party, long associated with his politically powerful family, in recent elections.

Gandhi announced his resignation on Twitter, saying he was stepping down because accountability is "critical for the future growth of our party." He said rebuilding the party requires hard decisions and "numerous people will have to be made accountable for the failure."

"It would be unjust to hold others accountable but ignore my own responsibility as president of the party," Gandhi said in his resignation letter.

It was unclear if the Congress party would accept the resignation.

Gandhi, whose great-grandfather, grandmother and father were all prime ministers, lost his own seat, long a Congress party bastion, to his ruling party rival in the election, marking the end of an era for modern India's most powerful political dynasty. However, he won a seat from another constituency.

Gandhi began talking about resigning as party president in May soon after the results of the election were announced.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party won 303 out of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, well beyond the simple majority a party needs to form a government.

The Congress party won 52 seats and the All India Trinamool Congress led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee won 22.

Gandhi said in his resignation letter that the BJP used state organizations to help it win the election.

"We didn't fight a political party in the 2019 election. Rather, we fought the entire machinery of the Indian state, every institution of which was marshalled against the opposition," Gandhi said.
"It is now crystal clear that our once cherished institutional neutrality no longer exists in India."

Source: AP