It has taken Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi a month to recover from the poll debacle in Uttar Pradesh, inflicted on his party by his own partymen. A month later, he has decided that he should get to the bottom of the UP mystery.
Congressmen called for a review meeting on Thursday in New Delhi gave Rahul a bigger dose than what he was possibly anticipating -- there was criticism of UP stalwarts Digvijay Singh, Mohan Prakash, Beni Prasad Verma, Rita Bahuguna Joshi and other Cabinet ministers.
The Congress workers also complained over 'faulty ticket distribution', and the fact that there was no caste balance between various constituencies.
They also communicated their anger over the manner at which 'outsiders' were brought into the party and immediately given tickets, much to the ire of local Congressmen.
Candidates also said that everything was smooth till the time the party promised 4.5 per cent reservation to the Muslims. But Union minister Salman Khurshid's statement of 9 per cent reservation immediately changed the situation, which Muslims did not believe.
It was also alleged that tickets were given for financial considerations ignoring the faithfulness of local Congress workers.
There was particularly a great deal of anger against Union minister Beni Prasad Verma, about whom some alleged that he sidelined Congressmen to accommodate former Samajwadi Party cadres.
Rahul Gandhi has called a two-day review meeting where the 28 elected MLAs in UP have been invited, apart from those who polled over 20,000 votes but could not win with many of them coming second in the race.
Rahul has circulated a set of 13 questions to the UP wallahs which includes queries like whether the AICC, PCC or the front organisations were of any help in the election, of what were the reasons for the loss, who were the workers who worked hard in the elections with their names and telephone numbers, what were the issues which may have affected the party performance, the role of central leaders and Union ministers, etc.
With so much having been said and written about the Congress defeat in UP, candidates said that Rahul Gandhi wanted open and genuine feedback, and he met each of the candidates separately. According to them, the idea was to avoid repeating the mistakes and focus on putting the Congress house in order for the Lok Sabha elections.
In a strategic move all the senior leaders and office bearers were kept out of the exercise; and this was done to ensure that the candidates could speak openly and freely.
Some candidates attacked Kishori Lal, the Gandhi family's Man Friday in bastions Amethi and Rae Bareilly, and said that he spent most of the time in Delhi and there was a reaction to his brand of politics.
The poor showing in Amethi and Rae Bareilly has hit the family hard, despite Priyanka Gandhi campaigning intensively there.