Thiruvananthapuram: The official organ of the Indian Union Muslim League, a long-time partner of the Congress in Kerala and at the Centre, today blamed Rahul Gandhi for the grand old party`s debacle in Lok Sabha polls.
The Congress in Kerala, however, reacted sharply to the editorial carried by IUML organ `Chandrika,` saying it was not proper to single out any particular leader for the election reversals.
The daily said `one-man show` of Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi failed to benefit his party in the polls as he failed to read the pulse of the people and counter the onslaught of the BJP led by Narendra Modi.
"Mere roaming around the country was not enough... Rahul took into confidence only a few youth leaders close to him for working out the campaign strategy . Rahul did not learn lessons from the party`s defeat in the state assembly polls," the editorial, titled "Congress needs radical changes", said.
Stating that radical changes in the party set up was the need of the hour, it said a deep introspection and a thorough examination of the mistakes and omissions is essential."
It said the Congress did not even have a catchy slogan this time to challenge the BJP`s `Aap Ki bar Modi` campaign.
The daily, however, said continuance of the congress was essential for the secular and democratic structure of the country and the grand old party led by Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad should not be allowed to be weakened.
Kerala PCC president V M Sudheeran took strong objection to the editorial which singled out Gandhi for attack.
Speaking at function, organised at the KPCC headquarters here on the occasion of the death anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Sudheeran said "It is true that the Congress was defeated but it is not right to put the blame on a single leader."
With the editorial causing resentment in the Congress circles, IUML general secretary E T Muhammad Basheer clarified that it was not written with bad intention but as piece of constructive criticism.