Partyworkers blame defeat on delay in naming candidates

While the demand to fix responsibility for Congress’ unexpected defeat in the Assembly elections becomes louder by the day,majority of workers feel that this is high time for the party to introspect what went wrong and where.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar | Published: March 13, 2012 1:07:06 am

While the demand to fix responsibility for Congress’ unexpected defeat in the Assembly elections becomes louder by the day,majority of workers feel that this is high time for the party to introspect what went wrong and where.

Also,the common refrain within the party set up is that the late announcement of tickets by the Congress high command both in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh when compared to other parties,led to its debacle in Punjab and near-decimation in UP.

“In UP,the winner Samajwadi Party had announced its candidates on majority of seats around a year before the elections. In Punjab too,the SAD had decided on candidates in a majority of constituencies much before the elections. In our party,sadly,we were not sure about the candidates till they filed their nomination papers,” said a local leader.

Taking a dig at the sordid state of affairs,a long-time Congress worker said: “What impression will a national party cast on the voters when two of its candidates filed nomination papers from the same constituency? In Jalandhar (Central),both Raj Kumar Gupta and Rajinder Beri field nominations on Congress ticket. A winning seat was lost thus. Announcing its candidates earlier and later changing in Jalandhar (Central) and Amritsar (East) worked against the Congress.”

Distribution of tickets at the last moment left the party with little time to mollify rebels and the candidates with little time to organise their campaign,said a political pandit.

Even candidates chosen by senior leaders like Rahul Gandhi and Ambika Soni have had to forfeit security deposits. Shalinderjit Singh Shally from Majitha in Amritsar,who was Rahul’s choice of candidate,had not only managed to bag the third position but forfeited his deposit. Similarly,Congress candidate from Mukerian,Ajit Narang — considered close to Ambika Soni — had to forfeit his security.

“In 2007 as well,the Congress had committed the same mistake of announcing tickets just a few days before filing of nomination papers. The party lost despite not having pronounced anti-incumbency on the surface. They did not take a lesson from history and faced humiliation in a state where the party got highest vote share but could not gather the numbers to form the government,” said a senior leader.

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