Even as a Rahul Gandhi-chaired meeting on Friday concluded that the confusion over Muslim quota cost the Congress dear in Uttar Pradesh elections, party president Sonia Gandhi has formed a high-powered committee to look into the causes of defeat in the politically significant state.
Defence minister AK Antony will head the panel, which will also have Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit and union power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde as its members.
The panel, which will also probe the party's stunning defeat in Punjab and unsatisfactory performance in Uttarakhand, is expected to meet UP leaders on Saturday to ascertain what went wrong — despite a high-pitched campaign that saw Rahul Gandhi address 211 public meetings in 48 days — and fix responsibility. On the second day of the stock-taking meeting, Rahul met newly-elected legislators, MPs and ministers from UP at the party's 'war room' on Friday. Taking off from where defeated candidates had left on Thursday, legislators attacked party ministers and MPs for their comments and non-cooperation during the polls.
Some MLAs attacked party general secretary in charge of UP affairs Digvijaya Singh for playing favourites.
Winding up the two-day session, Rahul Gandhi asserted that indiscipline will not be tolerated and stressed the need for responsibility with accountability. Rahul Gandhi assured the leaders that all corrective steps will be taken to strengthen the organisation in UP ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha elections. "I am going to stay in UP…. I am not going to accept the defeat," he said.
Sources did not rule out sweeping organisational changes, including dissolution of the present state panel, but refused to set any time-frame on when it will be implemented.
“Definitely, many heads will roll. Rahulji has assured us that responsibility for poll debacle will be fixed irrespective of power and position a person holds in the party or government,” a legislator later said.
Rahul Gandhi also asked ministers and MPs to stay connected with workers and masses in UP.