The Congress Working Committee regrouped on Monday to find a successor of party President Sonia Gandhi, only to deflect it citing the Covid-19 emergency and taking to task the local leadership responsible for poor performance in recently concluded state assembly elections.
As per a Hindustan Times report, the meeting attended by the CWC leaders concluded that the internal voting should be adjourned in view of the ongoing health emergency in the nation. Requesting Sonia Gandhi to retain her post, the leaders claimed that their focus currently should be on working towards the Covid-19 relief cause.
Rahul Gandhi who is recovering from Covid-19 gave the internal party meeting a miss.
It is said that Sonia Gandhi expressed her displeasure over party performance, blaming factionalism and poor local leadership for a tragic performance in four states and one union territory that went to assembly polls last month.
In her opening remarks, Gandhi ordered the CWC to “take note of our serious setbacks” and exclaimed that “to say that we are deeply disappointed is to make an understatement”.
She also proposed creating a committee to analyse the poll results in Kerala, Assam, Puducherry and West Bengal and remarked, “if we do not face up to the reality, if we do not look the facts in the face, we will not draw the right lessons.”
According to the report, leaders present in the meeting said Sonia Gandhi was visibly unhappy with the fact that the party lost four state elections under her leadership but was convinced by senior leader Salman Khurshid to continue guiding the party at least through the pandemic as the party has supposedly achieved much under her leadership. It must be noted that Congress won a total of zero seats in West Bengal assembly elections.
Jitendra Singh, in charge of Assam, in his report cited insufficient time to prepare and to optimise its alliances with AIUDF and the Bodoland people’s Front as the reason for Congress’s poor performance in the state.
While Singh was happy with the fact that the vote margin between the BJP and the Congress was narrow, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh pointed out that the Congress could have done better if it had not partnered with Badruddin Ajmal’s Islamic party AIUDF.
West Bengal assessment
West Bengal in charge Jitin Prasada blamed the Covid situation for its failure. Prasada claimed that the party could not campaign in Congress strongholds because of Covid. He also gave due credit to Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress for building up the momentum in the first six phases that affected the Congress’ performance in the last two phases of polling.
Tamil Nadu and Puducherry assessment
In charge of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, Dinesh Gundu Rao shifted the blame to former Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy for refusing to fight elections leading to a mass exodus of his loyalists to the BJP or the rival NR Congress.
Throwing light on the sorry situation within the party, General secretary Tariq Anwar blamed infighting for the Kerala debacle. Dismissing the shortcomings, almost all members cut short the discussion of poll performance and urged the party people on being united in such challenging times.
Later while briefing the media, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal and party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala informed that a group will be formed in 48 hours to deep dive into the election results and fix accountability. Surjewala remarked that “the Congress has lost the polls, but it has not lost its hope.” However, rebel Congress leaders who have been quite vocal about their disappointment with party leadership said that this is just a tactic to buy time. A leader reportedly said that after every defeat, panels are set up but no one has seen the reports and nor have they seen any action being taken.