Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Nirmal Khatri, in his first visit to the state capital post party’s worst show in the Lok Sabha elections in the state, said he takes “full responsibility” for the debacle.
“I take full responsibility for this and own up to it,” Khatri said. Continuing with the unspoken tradition though, Khatri sought to shield the party high command and said “there was no role of the central leadership in it”.
Asked if he will resign, the chorus for which is growing louder by the day within the party, Khatri told The Indian Express that he will communicate his “feelings to the party high command”.
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Khatri was in office on Wednesday for a condolence ceremony to mark the death anniversary of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
As for the Congress being reduced to two seats from 21 in 2009, he said not only the party was unsuccessful in highlighting its achievements, its schemes were not being delivered by the state government: “I believe we couldn’t properly communicate the good work as well as the achievements of the central government to the public.”
Khatri said the situation was made worse by an uncooperative state government and local administration. “(On one hand) we were talking of the schemes yet the benefits were not reaching the public due to (an opposing) administration at the state and at the district level. We couldn’t fight the administration for delivery of benefits,” Khatri said, adding “yet another factor would be inflation, which probably pushed the middle class away from us”.
As for the unprecedented mandate for the BJP, he said “maybe the people wanted change and wanted to try a different person (to govern the nation). The public keeps feeling this way from time to time. He (Narendra Modi) became the central point of their campaign. They adapted (to the situation) and showed dreams to the people,” Khatri said.
Khatri also said there is no doubt that people in UP rose above caste equations to vote for BJP yet termed the polarisation on the basis of religion as “not good”. “(Religious polarisation) is not good for a country with a religious diversity,” he said. Khatri took charge in September 2012 post party’s poor show in the 2012 Assembly elections, when it had won only 28 of the 403 seats.
However, Khatri failed to revive the party and had come under fire during elections for remaining focussed on his constituency. Faizabad. However, even though he was the incumbent MP, he was relegated to the fourth position behind BJP, SP and BSP..