Congress introspects on poll setbacks

The Congress party is on an introspection mode to try and ascertain the reasons behind the defeat in Assembly polls.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Concerned over the abysmal performance of the party in the latest round of Assembly Elections, the Congress party is on an introspection mode to try and ascertain the reasons behind the defeat.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi would be chairing the meet being held at the party’s HQ. Party general secretaries, including Rahul Gandhi, are attending the meeting. The meeting is significant, especially because of the poor performance of the party in Uttar Pradesh, where Rahul had himself steered the campaign.

It was a series of mistakes that appeared to have cost
dearly to Rahul`s `Mission UP 2012`. They included off the
cuff remarks, controversial comments and raking up of
sentimental issues by senior party leaders including Union

Even Amethi and Rae Bareli, the pocket boroughs of
Gandhi-Nehru family, gave a shocker to the party as it managed
to win only two of the ten Assembly seats in these twin Lok
Sabha constituencies represented by Rahul and Sonia Gandhi.

Despite Rahul`s herculean efforts, the Congress could at
the most manage just 28 seats in the 403-member House. It has
won 20 and was leading in eight seats.

The young Gandhi scion did owe up responsibility for the defeat but the story is far from over as the Congress is very well aware that it has improve its performance in UP for any reasonable chance to retain power at the Centre post 2014.

Other than UP, the outcome in Punjab, Goa has also been a dampener despite the fact that it retained Manipur and emerged the single largest party in Uttarakhand, where it could grab power.

In Punjab, Congress wanted to ride the anti-incumbency
wave but was handed out a shock defeat by the ruling Shiromani
Akali Dal-BJP. Restricting the Congress to just 46 in the
117-member House, the ruling combine bagged 68 seats, just one
less than last time.

The defeat in Punjab was a setback for the party as the
leadership had go to the extent of declaring senior leader
Amarinder Singh as the chief ministerial candidate, something
rare in Congress.

However, during the meeting today, the focus would be on UP poll debacle more than any other state.

A section of the party contends that the 4.5 per cent
reservation for minorities decided by the Congress-led
coalition at the Centre just a few days before the
announcement of the election schedule did more harm than good.

This section says that detractors of the party were quick
to project the move as one detrimental to interests of
backward Muslims in UP.

The statements of Union Minister Salman Khurshid on the
Muslim sub-quota issue added fuel to fire and at the same time
antagonised the Election Commission. The statements of Union
ministers Beni Prasad Verma and Sriprakash Jaiswal did not
help matters.

The raking up of the Batla encounter issue by Congress
General Secretary Digvijay Singh also appeared not to have
gone down well with the Muslims. Such statements appeared to
have helped the BJP to polarise voters to a certain extent.

Party leaders insist that sizable support from Muslims in
the 2009 elections had ensured Congress victory in as many as
22 Lok Sabha seats giving the first signs of revival of the
organisation in its one-time bastion. But the Muslims may have
shifted away this time, they feel.

In almost all of these 22 Lok Sabha seats, Muslim vote was
crucial ranging from two to three lakh and in constituencies
like Moradabad it was up to six lakh.

At that time, a sizable section of Muslims was having
second thoughts in backing Mulayam Singh Yadav as the SP
supremo had tied up with Kalyan Singh who was the BJP chief
minister during demolition of Babri Masjid in December 1992.

With PTI inputs

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