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India

Congress Leaders Confused, Clueless After Poll Debacle

Moily along with 22 other Congress leaders had written to the party’s former president Sonia Gandhi demanding an immediate election within the party and an organisational rejig.

The Congress was routed in the elections to the five states — Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Manipur, Goa and Uttarakhand. The party also lost power in Punjab to the AAP.(Photo: ANI)

With Congress facing massive electoral defeats in all the five states, a large chunk of party leaders is clueless about the causes behind the grand old party’s growing irrelevance. While there have been deliberations within the party cadres seeking a “speedy election for the president’s post”, leaders say there is utter confusion as to who should even be in the fray of these positions.

“We have witnessed a massive defeat everywhere. There is no consensus as to what caused this defeat. I think it is too early to make any point about it,” Congress leader Veerappa Moily told India Ahead on Saturday.

Moily along with 22 other Congress leaders had written to the party’s former president Sonia Gandhi demanding an immediate election within the party and an organisational rejig. This demand was raised by them through a letter to Sonia in August 2021.

While there have been no elections in the party, Moily points out that “no road map” has been drawn to get out of this mess yet. “What happened after (G-23 took a dissenting stand against high command) that there has been a complete mess everywhere. They (party high command) did not heed to anyone. Sidhu was brought in Punjab (as the party chief) and everything he spoke damaged the party,” Congress spokesperson Salman Nizami said.

“More so, the people who have been tirelessly working on the ground have been completely ignored. They (high command) gave tickets to random people in these elections who no one knew. This was bound to happen,” Nizami stated about the massive loss in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa.

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A day after the massive poll debacle, Ghulam Nabi Azad on March 11 met Congress leader Manish Tiwari and Anand Sharma at his residence. Many other leaders, including Kapil Sibal from the G-23 group, joined the trio virtually in the meeting which was reported to have a “combative mood”.

There are reports that these leaders had suggested skipping the upcoming meetings of Congress Working Committee as the “CMs, Youth Congress leaders and presidents of frontal organisations only praise the Gandhi family and do not discuss any serious issues”.

“If the leaders speak assertively in the extended meeting, several sycophants oppose them,” Rajya Sabha MP Anand Sharma claimed on Friday. He added that it was thus imperative that such meetings should be limited to CWC members.

While there has been a lot of infighting in the state units, there seems to be discord within the G-23 too. Veerappa Moily, a Congress Rajya Sabha member and a signatory to the letter written to Sonia by the group, told India Ahead that he was “not even associated with the G-23 anymore”.

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“I have just signed those initial letters. I never went back to any meetings,” he stated and added that he cannot say anything about the road map ahead for the Congress.
Vivek Tankha, another member of the G-23, said he has nothing to say about the possible organisational rejig. “We have not even spoken about anything yet,” he said.

According to Congress national spokesperson Gaurav Vallabh, the electorate ignored the party in Uttar Pradesh as there was no real chance of it winning n many seats. “There are no clear reasons as to why Congress lost. Maybe, the people voted for Samajwadi Party in UP, because they felt the vote to Congress may simply help the BJP win (as Congress barely got 6 per cent vote in the last election and was destined to lose this time too),” he stated.

Vallabh said there was clearly a need for more “introspection” about the rout in other states.

Even those responsible for observing elections in these states have refused to answer about the poor show. “I don’t think, I am the right person to make an observation on why Congress lost these recent elections,” Congress leader P Chidambaram told India Ahead in response to a question as to why the party failed. He was the “senior election observer” for these elections by Congress.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee had in January 2022 offered the Congress to contest the Goa polls as allies but there was “no deal on the table” by the former.

“BJP has won Goa election. Chidambaram should publicly own this blame. This party is doing nothing but misleading the people,” Banerjee asserted.

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