The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) on Wednesday became the first UPA ally to blame Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for the rout of the coalition in the Lok Sabha elections.
In an editorial in its mouthpiece, Chandrika, the party criticised Rahul’s “one-man show”. He should have realised that going from one place to another was not enough to touch the “soul of India”, it said.
The IUML has been an ally of the Congress in Kerala since the late ’70s. IUML national president E Ahamed, who was a minister in the UPA-1 and UPA-2 governments, is a member of Chandrika’s board of directors.
Stating that the Congress shifted its war room to Rahul’s residence this time, the daily said senior leaders with decades of experience were forced to wait outside as only a few young leaders were taken into confidence. The Rahul team failed to learn any lessons from the party’s failure in the various state elections. Jairam Ramesh, who was instrumental in strategising the 2004 and 2009 poll campaigns, was neglected, it said.
The IUML daily said Rahul was inexperienced as compared to Narendra Modi. “Assigning the lead role to Rahul, who has not even be a minister in a state government, helped Modi implement his high-tech electioneering tactics easily. When compared to Modi, the Congress failed to use modern technology effectively,” it said.
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According to the mouthpiece, the Congress failed to project the election as a battle between two ideologies. While Modi effectively used the allegations against him to consolidate Hindu votes, the Congress could not counter his campaign successfully. The BJP even came up with better slogans, it said.
Among the other issues, the daily also blamed the leadership vacuum, absence of suitable partners, wrong economic policies, price rise and corruption.
While senior IUML leader M C Mayin Haji said it was constructive criticism, state Congress vice-president V D Satheeshan said the IUML should understand the impropriety of attacking Rahul and the Congress.
“It is unbecoming of a party to let down its ally in the hour of failure. The IUML was completed wiped out in the 2006 assembly elections, but the Congress did not find fault with the IUML’s leadership, more so when its senior leader, P K Kunhalikutty, was facing charges of involvement in a sex scandal. The IUML later staged a comeback under the same leadership,’’ said Satheeshan.