New Delhi: Starting a soul-searching exercise following its worst-ever Lok Sabha polls result, an informal group of Congress leaders on Saturday met party leaders from Delhi to identify the reasons behind its whitewash by BJP in the seven parliamentary seats in the national capital.
Veterans of Delhi Congress and former MPs Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar were also called for the meeting, which was led by senior leader A K Antony and attended by five former MPs - Kapil Sibal, Ajay Maken, Krishna Tirath, Mahabal Mishra and Ramesh Kumar, all of whom lost from seats in Delhi.
Two of the seven former MPs -- Sandip Dikshit and former PCC chief J P Agarwal -- however, did not attend the meeting, which saw participants analysing reasons for the poor result while exploring the way forward to retrieve the situation.
While Dikshit, son of former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, was not in town, Agarwal`s absence raised eyebrows within the party.
Agarwal later said he was out of town hence could not attend the meet.
But sources close to him said the Congress leader was unhappy at the decision to call Tytler and Sajjan Kumar.
It is learnt that apart from general factors like price rise, corruption and lack of communication, the Delhi leaders also pointed at internal rivalry within the state unit and the style of functioning of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit as being some of the reasons for their disappointing showing.
There is a view within the Congress that while the Sheila Dikshit government carried out development works, it lost touch with the masses, which is why she herself was defeated by Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal in last year`s Assembly elections.
The informal group set up by Congress president Sonia Gandhi has, besides Antony, got AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik and secretaries R C Khuntia and Avinash Pandey as its members.
The leaders held one-to-one discussions with all stakeholders, including Subhash Chopra, who was the Campaign Committee Chairman for Delhi Assembly elections, PCC chief Arvinder Singh Lovely and CLP leader Haroon Yusuf.