Congress's problem is that it has too many leaders: Sonia
Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday ruled out any "damage" to the United Progressive Alliance government in the wake of electoral outcomes in which, she said, wrong choice of candidates and weak organisation in Uttar Pradesh played a role in the party's dismal performance. The Congress president also said that there was no question of replacing Dr Manmohan Singh.
She said price rise could have been a factor for the party's poor performance in the elections and declared that the Congress has to "pull up its socks" for the coming battles in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka.
Appearing before the media a day after the party's dismal showing in assembly elections to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Goa, Gandhi said a meeting of all the leaders, including from the states, will be called to analyse the reasons.
Click NEXT to read further...
Image: Sonia Gandhi
'Every election is a lesson for us'
"Every election is a lesson for us, whether we win or lose, there is a lesson for us," Gandhi said.
Asked about the reasons that could have impacted the party's performance, she said in UP, weak organisational structure and wrong choice of candidates could have been the factors.
Queried whether there was lack of leadership, she responded, "I would say rather than lack of leadership, (there are) too many leaders... That is our problem."
Gandhi acknowledged inflation could have been factor for Congress' poor performance.
Addressing media in New Delhi, Gandhi said, "I humbly accept the results of the assembly elections. There are number of reasons. The wrong choice of candidates had also contributed to the party's performance in the state assembly elections."
"In Uttar Pradesh, people were unhappy with the Bahujan Samaj Party and the alternative for them was Samajwadi Party. We will sit with party leaders and state leaders and assess what went wrong for the Congress," she added.
On the party's performance in Amethi and Raebareli, Gandhi said, "There have been such defeats earlier.
On Punjab results, Gandhi said, "The newly formed Punjab People's Party damaged us in 23 seats rather than the Akalis."
Sonia Gandhi further said that in Goa many voters were unhappy with the Congress government. She also said that the Congress Party was the only political party in the country that works towards removing corruption.
"We passed the Lokpal bill in Lok Sabha...But who blocked it in the Rajya Sabha?" she asked.
Click NEXT to read further...
Image: Congress President Sonia Gandhi with son Rahul Gandhi
'A win is a win'
In Uttarakhand, the Congress had more numbers and therefore, had the right to stake claim to form the government there first, Sonia Gandhi said.
She also felt that if the Congress continuous to keep in touch with its coalition partners and the opposition, they would come around to understanding and supporting it.
Gandhi further rejected the suggestion that the election results in Uttar Pradesh had damaged the UPA II regime at the Centre.
"Let us remember, we have made it on in one state (Manipur). A win is a win," said Gandhi.
Earlier in the day, Gandhi met party general secretaries and office-bearers at the All Indian Congress Committee headquarters to take stock of the party's dismal performance in the assembly elections in five states.
Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh, in-charge of UP; Chaudhary Birendra Singh, incharge of Uttarakh#8743 Gulchain Singh Charak, in-charge of Punjab; Jagmeet Singh Brar, in-charge of Goa; and Luizinho Faleiro, in-charge of Manipur, were present in the meeting.
The elections in Uttar Pradesh turned out to be a big disappointment for the party, where it finished fourth despite Rahul Gandhi himself leading the Congress from the front.
The Congress failed to win power in Punjab, lost power in Goa and was running for a photo finish with the Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttarakhand. A win in Manipur was the only silver lining in an otherwise gloomy result for it.
The Congress party's drubbing is also a blow to the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, reducing his scope to re-launch reforms and reverse a slowdown in economic growth.