New Delhi, May 18: Shell-shocked over its worst-ever performance in the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meets here tomorrow amidst a clamour within for a surgical action to revamp the party.
Though directly no one may point fingers at Rahul Gandhi, the role of his key advisers including Jairam Ramesh, Mohan Gopal, Madhusudan Mistri and Mohan Prakash may be questioned.
As the party searches for answers for its disastrous performance, senior minister Kamal Nath has already sounded a word of caution against “patronage politics” and felt that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should have been more forthright and that the communication was a problem.
A number of Union Ministers could also face the ire of party leaders at the meet for their “total lack of communication” with party workers. As several Union Cabinet ministers lost in their respective seats miserably, a senior party leader said that there was a total disconnect of the ministers with party workers and their “arrogance” is to be blamed for the backlash against the party.
While party sources have ruled out reports of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi offering to resign in the wake of debacle, the meeting could see some leaders raising uncomfortable questions about the party’s campaign and alliance strategy. There are questions being raised about the style of working of Rahul Gandhi but doubts are being expressed whether any one would make bold to raise them in the meeting to be presided over by Sonia.
An exercise has already begun in the party to insulate him from any blame game. Sonia and Rahul appeared before the media on Friday and took personal responsibility for the drubbing that left the party with just 44 seats in a House of 543, a huge climbdown from 206 seats it had in the outgoing Lok Sabha.
There are demands from the leaders that this time the customary practice of setting up a committee to go into the reasons for the defeat and then forgetting it should not be repeated. Accountability should be clearly fixed and action taken wherever there are individual responsibilities, a party leader said.
“Serious introspection is needed but surely not like in the past when suggestions arising out of the introspection were never implemented,” Anil Shastri, who is a Special Invitee to the CWC said on Twitter.
He is believed to have written a blunt letter to the Congress Vice President on what went wrong and what needs to be done to get the party back on rails.
Shastri, son of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, has been maintaining ever since results were out that the party needs “serious introspection” and immediate corrective measures to check problems like party hoppers managing to get tickets and old-time partymen being ignored in the process.
In ten states, Congress scored zero. They include Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Odisha and Rajasthan. In Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, it has got two seats each and in Chattisgarh one. The defeat was so glaring that BJP got more seats in Uttar Pradesh alone than the total tally of Congress.
There is also a view that Congress has paid the price for not having strong regional leaders and “ignoring” a few of them, who could have held the fort.
A general view in the Congress is that the issue of price rise and corruption went against the party and the situation was exploited to the hilt by Narendra Modi by tapping the anti-incumbency sentiment.