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Top Congress panel to meet on election debacle

LiveMint logoLiveMint 18-05-2014 PTI

New Delhi: As Congress is shell-shocked over its worst-ever tally of 44 seats in Lok Sabha polls, the chorus for a thorough revamp and surgical actions to stem the rot have grown as its apex decision making body Congress Working Committee (CWC) meets on Monday.

The meeting to be chaired by party president Sonia Gandhi at the All India Congress Committee headquarters is expected to last for around two hours and indications have it that the meeting could see a number of leaders raising uncomfortable questions about the performance of some key figures close to party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who led the party campaign for 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Though there are murmurs regarding the style of working of Rahul Gandhi itself, an exercise has already begun in the party to insulate him from the responsibility even as the Congress vice-president held himself responsible for the poor show of the party in the elections.

There are demands from the leaders that this time the customary practice of setting up a committee to go into the reasons for the defeat and then forget it should not be repeated and accountability should be clearly fixed and action taken wherever there are individual responsibilities. “Serious introspection is needed but surely not like in the past when suggestions arising out of the introspection were never implemented,” Anil Shastri, who is a special invitee to CWC, said on Twitter.

Shastri, son of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, has been maintaining ever since results were out that the party needs “serious introspection” and immediate corrective measures to check problems like party hoppers managing to get tickets and old-time partymen being ignored in the process.

Accepting responsibility for the poll debacle, Sonia and Rahul have conceded that the mandate in the Lok Sabha polls was “clearly against” Congress and said there was “lot for us to think about”. As several Union cabinet ministers lost in their respective seats miserably, a senior party leader said that there was a total disconnect of the ministers with party workers and their “arrogance” is to be blamed for the backlash against the party.

There is also a view that Congress has paid the price for not having strong regional leaders and “ignoring” a few of them, who could have held the fort. A general view in the Congress is that the issue of price rise and corruption went against the party and the situation was exploited to the hilt by Narendra Modi by tapping the anti-incumbency sentiment.

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