iconimg Sunday, April 19, 2015

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 10, 2013
A day after her party faced a crushing defeat in four states, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday summoned senior functionaries to take a stock of the poll debacle. Party general secretaries in-charges and observers of all five states of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram submitted their reports to her.

The meeting, also attended by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, came in the wake of Sonia's assertion on Sunday that the poll outcome called for "deep introspection" to look for reasons for the defeat.

It is learnt that the meeting expressed surprise and disappointment at the results. On her part, Sonia asked the senior leaders to ensure that the infighting is put to an end in all state units. She also asked them to make sure that the party goes to 2014 Lok Sabha elections as a cohesive unit and also to take the UPA government's good work to the people across the country.

The leaders suggested that price rise was the main reason behind the public anger against the Congress. Sonia too had admitted that inflation had hurt the party most.

Though there was a talk that some heads will roll, the general secretaries in-charge of these five states had been appointed in June this year and they got less than six months to prepare for the assembly elections, which were billed as semi-finals ahead of the final battle in April-May next year.

The seriousness of the exercise could be gauged by the fact that senior ministers AK Antony and Ghulam Nabi Azad skipped a meeting of the union cabinet to attend the party consultations.