Updated: May 8, 2021 3:13:05 am
Commenting for the first time on her party’s disastrous show in the recent Assembly elections in four states and the UT of Puducherry, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday said the performance was “disappointing” and the party must collectively draw “appropriate lessons from this setback in a spirit of humility and honesty”.
While a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) is expected to be convened next week to review the results, there seems to be rumblings among a section of leaders, given the spate of electoral defeats the party has faced of late.
Sources said discontent is simmering again, with some leaders maintaining that the leadership cannot keep kicking the can down the road. One party leader said, “The leadership seems to be trying to hide behind the pandemic to avoid uncomfortable questions.”
Congratulating M K Stalin, Mamata Banerjee and Pinarayi Vijayan for their victories in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Kerala, respectively, Sonia said, “Most unfortunately, our own performance in all the states was very disappointing and if I may say, unexpectedly so. The CWC is meeting shortly to review the results, but it goes without saying that we, as a party, collectively must draw appropriate lessons from this setback in a spirit of humility and honesty.”
Her comments came at a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party, convened to discuss the Covid-19 situation.
While one MP from Punjab tried to broach the issue of Congress’s electoral defeats, Sonia is learnt to have said that the CWC will deliberate on the results soon.
Many Congress leaders, including some from what is referred to as the ‘Group of 23’, believe the meeting of the CPP and Sonia’s cursory mention about the party’s humiliating performance in the Assembly elections was yet another attempt to avoid a much-needed free and frank discussion, soul-searching and radical action to stem the rot in the party.
One Congress leader said, “We understand the country is facing a very grave crisis…and all our energies should be focused on trying to help the people….”
As the CPP meeting was underway, the Congress released a letter written by party leader Rahul Gandhi to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the pandemic situation. Sources said many Congress MPs then praised Rahul, saying he has been, from time to time, flagging issues and making suggestions, but the government has ignored his warnings and advice.
“The meeting then kind of endorsed what Rahul has written,” one leader who attended the meeting said. “The very sanctity of the meeting was defiled…. When the party is losing its electoral relevance, and losing election after election, our leaders are busy in sycophancy. Yes, he (Rahul) has been flagging issues…he has been making valid suggestions…that is all fine…but we should also apply our mind to get back the Congress’s electoral relevance.”
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