With factionalism costing the party dear in the recent assembly elections, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday asked leaders to bury their differences and fight polls in the future as a disciplined team.
“As we approach state elections in the coming months, we must draw upon the lessons of previous polls,” Gandhi said at a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party — the first after assembly polls in five states earlier this year.
Infighting was a major reason for the Congress’ stunning defeat in Punjab and the setbacks in Uttar Pradesh and Goa. The below-par performance in Uttarakhand, where it formed the government with the support of Independents, too was attributed to factional fights in the state unit.With elections in BJP-ruled Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh this year and eight states — including Karnataka, Rajasthan, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh — going to polls in 2013, Gandhi sent out a strong message to her party.
“We must shed all manner of factional behaviour and fight as one disciplined team at all levels. That will be the single-most important factor to decide whether we win or lose,” she said.
Gandhi attacked the Opposition for blocking parliamentary proceedings and asked party workers to expose their doublespeak. “It seems to have become almost fashionable to criticise the government. We must not allow this to deflect us. We must speak with confidence on what we have achieved — and there is much we have to show despite the difficult economic times,” she said.
On the NCTC stand-off, she vouched for her party’s commitment to federalism. She said the Centre would work closely with the states to protect national interest and fight terrorism.
Gandhi praised the allocation of more funds for key social programmes in the budget, but said public expenditure should be made more accountable and corruption eliminated.