Leaders at CWC blames Factionalism for the setback in the election
In the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Monday, party leaders blamed factionalism and weak local leadership, cited campaigning challenges, and cited a lack of time for preparations as they assessed the party’s success in the recent assembly elections after party chief Sonia Gandhi asked them to take note of “our severe setback” and warned them that if they don’t “face up to the reality,” they will “face the consequences.”
The party postponed its internal election to elect a successor to President Sonia Gandhi “in light of the nationwide emergent conditions prevailing on account of the unprecedented Corona pandemic,” and many leaders insisted that the organization’s focus should be on Covid-19 relief efforts. Rahul Gandhi, the Congress leader who is recovering from Covid-19, did not attend the CWC meeting on Monday.
Gandhi said in her opening remarks that the CWC should “take note of our serious setbacks” and that “to say we are profoundly disappointed is an understatement.” She suggested forming a committee to analyse the findings in Kerala, Assam, Puducherry, and West Bengal, adding, “But if we don’t face logic, if we don’t look the evidence in the eyes, we won’t draw the right conclusions.”
According to attendees, Gandhi joked that the party had lost elections in four states under her leadership, implying that she wanted to step down, but senior leader Salman Khurshid intervened and urged her to stay through the pandemic because the Congress had accomplished so much under her leadership.
Following a description of the Covid situation in their respective states by the chief ministers of states ruled by the Congress who were present at the meeting, it was the turn of the general secretaries to assess the party’s success in the recent assembly elections, according to the people cited above, who summarised the points made by each.
The Congress lost badly in Assam, broke a four-decade pattern by losing in Kerala, performed poorly in Puducherry, and failed to win a single seat in West Bengal’s 294-member assembly. In Tamil Nadu, however, it was the junior partner in the victorious DMK-led alliance.
Jitendra Singh, the Assam director, wrote in his report that Congress lost the state because it didn’t have enough time to plan and optimise its alliances with the AIUDF and the Bodoland People’s Front. He also said that Congress did poorly in the upper Assam because the BJP backed two local parties to steal Congress votes.
The margin of victory between the BJP and the Congress was razor-thin, according to Singh, but Digvijaya Singh, a senior Congress leader, believes if it had not partnered with Badruddin Ajmal’s AIUDF the Congress would have done better.
The Kerala fiasco, according to General Secretary Tariq Anwar, was caused by infighting within the Congress organisation. In the province, where the Congress-led UDF and the Left’s LDF have alternated in power since 1977, Rahul Gandhi campaigned extensively.
Surprisingly, there was little discussion about the poll results, and almost everyone emphasised the importance of remaining together during this trying period.
Later, during a press conference, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal and party chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that a committee will be formed in 48 hours to investigate the election results and that transparency will be established.
“The Congress has lost the polls, but it has not lost its hope,” claimed Surjewala.