Anand Sharma Says Its Time To Revive Congress; Rahul, Sonia Unite Towards Solution

The deafeat of Congress party has been a major setback for it. The party leaders and workers are demoralised and disappointed. There is a need to take appropriate actions in this regard. The election outcome is due to a combinations of reasons and not just one.

There is need for dispassionate, objective and honest evaluation, introspection to identify all the factors and shortcomings…then only we can take those decisions which will help us to strengthen the Congress as grassroots. There should not be any knee jerk responses and you cannot look for scapegoats. It is a collective responsibility of all who were associated with the election work – the campaign committees, manifesto committees and also the committees in the states.

Elections as the Congress party was preparing after the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.. the calculations and the factors on the ground changed after the cynical exploitation of the national emotion and sentiments post-Pulwana terror attack which shocked the country. The Government was responsible and had to give an account as to why despite high alerts such a terrible tragedy took place. But that was used to fast track an agenda which the BJP and the Prime Minister had in mind to change the narrative and to reap electoral benefits. Yet we were not expecting such results because there was no visible undercurrent in the Hindi heartland, no indications. It is time for us to look all factors. The Prime Minister and the BJP exploited the national sentiment to completely change the narrative and deflect attention from their own betrayal of the people. There was no mention of jobs, economy, farmers, the entire focus was on hyper nationalism and patriotism…Their priority was to win an election.

Congress Won’t Participate In TV Debates For A Month, In Crisis After Election Defeat

The Congress party has announced that it won’t participate in TV debates for over a month, amidst a huge internal crisis after Rahul Gandhi refused to continue as its chief following the poll results.

“The Congress has decided to not send spokespersons on television debates for a month,” the party’s spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a tweet on Thursday.

“All media channels/editors are requested to not place Congress representatives on their shows,” he added.

The tweet, to many, reflected the deep churning within the grand old party stunned by the scale of its defeat in the national election and its sharp decline across the country.

Congress leaders say the gag is meant to give the party time to sort out its mess and understand what went wrong, away from constant media speculation. Also, the party doesn’t want to be seen criticizing the BJP or Narendra Modi in debates, say sources.

The Congress was wiped out in 18 states and union territories and couldn’t win even in the states it won in December – Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.On the other hand, the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi won 303 seats to win an incredible back-to-back majority, a feat previously achieved only by Congress icons like Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

The worst cut of all was Rahul Gandhi’s defeat in his traditional Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh, where he had effortlessly won since 2004, when he debuted in politics.

If the Congress president had not contested from Kerala’s Wayanad and won, he would not have been in parliament. The party, with 52 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha, does not even qualify for the post of Leader of Opposition, for which 55 seats is the prerequisite.

On Saturday, at a post-mortem of the party’s decimation, Rahul Gandhi announced his decision to quit and the Congress Working Committee, the party’s top decision-making body, rejected it.

The familiar ritual after every Congress election debacle did not follow the script this time; Rahul Gandhi has refused to change his mind about quitting and has not met any leader since Saturday apart from his mother Sonia Gandhi and sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

The 48- year old reportedly asked the party to look for a new chief, a non- Gandhi. The Congress is debating ways of weathering this crisis – one option would be to have Rahul Gandhi lead the party in parliament.

A day after the national election result on May 23, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav had also said that no channel should invite any of its leaders for debates.

Rahul Gandhi Insists On Quitting, CWC Likely To Hold Meeting In Four Days

Following the poll defeat, the Congress is now in some deep trouble with party president Rahul Gandhi insisting on quitting the post amidst lined up resignations pending. This may likely lead to a meeting of its highest decision-making body, the Congress Working Committee (CWC), in the next four days.

Amid indications that the party was considering a presidium system for taking it forward, the CWC is likely to discuss the leadership issue, sources said on Monday.

It is learnt that Rahul Gandhi has conveyed that he has not changed his mind to quit.

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi are also learnt to have come to terms with his view that there should be a change of guard, though they have been of the view that the blame for defeat cannot be put on one person.

During the day, party treasurer Ahmed Patel and general secretary K. C. Venugopal met Rahul and tried to persuade him not to press for his exit from the post.

However, Patel later said that he had gone to meet Rahul for routine administrative work.

“I had sought time before the CWC to meet the Congress President to discuss routine administrative work. The meeting today was in that context. All other speculation is incorrect and baseless,” Patel tweeted.

Sources said the CWC, the party’s top decision-making body, is also likely to look at the structural reforms needed by the party.

There is also a view in the Congress that Gandhi is sending a clear message to the old guard by holding out because there should be full freedom in decision-making.

Sources said Rahul Gandhi did not give appointment to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in an apparent snub to him. The Congress President was not keen on Gehlot seeking ticket for his son. Gandhi is also learnt to have declined other appointments including of newly-eleced MPs who wanted to see him.

The Congress is also believed to be considering a presidium system, as resignations pile up amid a deepening crisis.

Gandhi had offered to resign taking moral responsibility for the party’s defeat but the Congress Working Committee at its meeting on Saturday unanimously rejected the offer.

Meanwhile, three more state party chiefs have tendered their resignations, taking the total number to six.

Congress party chiefs of Jharkhand, Assam and Punjab have also resigned in addition to those from Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha. Karanataka Pradesh Campaign Committee chairman H. K. Patil has also resigned.

Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jhakar, who was the sitting MP from Gurdaspur, sent his resignation to Congress President Rahul Gandhi taking moral responsibility for losing to actor Sunny Deol from the seat. The Congress has generally done well in Punjab winning eight of 13 seats

Jharkhand Congress chief Ajoy Kumar has also tendered his resignation. The party won only one seat in the state where it had an alliance with the JMM, RJD and other parties.

While the party won Singhbhum seat, it lost Khunti by only 1,445 votes and Lohardaga by 10,363 votes.

The party’s Assam unit chief Ripun Bora also wrote to Gandhi taking moral responsibility for the party not being able to increase its tally from its previous tally of three seats. He has said in his letter that Gandhi may choose to replace him.

Maharashtra unit chief Ashok Chavan, Uttar Pradesh unit chief Raj Babbar, and Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik have already sent their resignations.

Yogendra Misra, the district Congress chief in Amethi in Uttar Pradesh has also sent his resignation, owning moral responsibility for Rahul Gandhi’s defeat from Amethi.