The Congress committee headed by Union Minister A K Antony to look into the party’s poll debacle in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections had a meeting with AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh as it prepares to finalise the report.
The report,which has,according to sources,blamed perception of corruption,wrong ticket distribution,controversial campaigning and poor organisational structure on the ground along with price rise as main reasons for party’s debacle in Uttar Pradesh will be submitting the report to Congress President Sonia Gandhi in a day or two,sources said.
Emerging after the meeting,Singh,however,sought to downplay the media reports about the findings saying it was media creation.
“Is the Committee report out? Has the report been submitted? I have not seen the report. It is your creation. What can I say when the report has not been read by me,” Singh told reporters in response to a volley of questions on the issue.
Responding to questions on whether he owns responsibility for the party’s defeat,Law Minister Salman Khurshid told reporters that they should have also asked this question to him also when Congress had got 22 Lok Sabha seats in last general elections in 2009.
He at the same time said,”I am (responsible). We all are. We are party workers. We off course take responsibility.”
Khurshid felt that it was wrong to say at this stage that that the report has held somebody responsible as it was not yet out.
“The report will come and we will and on the basis of report,we will move forward,” he said.
Party MP Jagdambika Pal said Congress Working Committee will look into the report and since Sonia Gandhi had constituted the Antony Committee,steps will definitely be taken according to its recommendations for reviving Congress for next Lok Sabha elections in 2014.
The report of the Antony Committee,which also has Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit and Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde as members,is learnt to have avoided any critical assessment of Rahul Gandhi’s role,who had undertaken a vigorous campaign in UP in order to rebuild the party.
The committee had the mandate to look into the causes of the Congress rout in Goa as also the shock defeat in Punjab and the performance in Uttarakhand.
The Congress’ campaign in UP had courted many a controversy including the one related to Khurshid’s remarks on OBC Muslim quota that had led to a war of words between him and the Election Commission and Digvijay Singh’s remarks questioning the genuineness of Batla House encounter.
The party,which was hopeful of a repeat good showing of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections in UP,where it had won 22 seats,could actually win only 28 assembly seats,six more than it had got in 2007 assembly elections despite a high voltage campaign by Gandhi and an allinace with Ajit Singh’s RLD.
The committee has also found fault with ticket distribution saying it was also a factor for the party’s defeat in UP,the sources said.
Sonia Gandhi had also earlier accepted problems in ticket distribution as a reason for the party’s poor show in UP. Both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi have blamed the party debacle in UP mainly on poor organisational structure.
There has been talk about an overhaul of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee soon after the results and this is likely to gain momentum after submission of the report. There is also speculation about dividing the state organisationally into four to five zones so as to get the party’s act together. Party sources,however,remain tight-lipped about the future course of action.