Terming the party's performance in Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls as "very disappointing", Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday blamed it on organisational failure and asked the partymen to gear up for assembly polls in Gujarat and Goa.
In her first comments after the UP polls, Gandhi said though the communal forces have been dealt a severe blow, "our performance has been very disappointing".
"We mounted a spirited campaign throughout which we witnessed a great deal of goodwill and support towards our party. But organisationally we were not able to transform that goodwill into votes," she said at the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting, attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other senior ministers.
"We now face a stupendous challenge, a challenge that we accept and that we will meet with hard work and determination," Gandhi said.
Observing that assembly polls were to be held in Gujarat very soon, she reminded the partymen that BJP would "undoubtedly raise communal tensions and passions".
Congress did well in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls and "this gives us both hope and confidence that the people of the state which gave birth to the Father of the Nation will vote for strengthening Gujarat's traditions of secularism and social harmony", the Congress President said.
Referring to the ensuing assembly polls in Goa, She said in New Delhi too that the party was confronting the BJP whose "single-point programme is communal polarisation".
Charging the BJP with unabated attacks and atrocities on religious minorities in BJP-ruled states, Gandhi said though Congress in these states has exposed the communal designs of the BJP "but I do feel that Central government should take serious note of these dangerous trends".
Turning to the Gujarat fake encounter killing, she said that the nation was witnessing shocking revelations on the manner in which sections of the Gujarat police have been allowed to kill innocent people in the garb of fighting terrorism.
It was apparent that these sections enjoyed high-level patronage and this also reflected utter and deliberate contempt for the rule of law to promote ideological prejudices, she said.
"This also reflects the blatantly partisan attitude of the state government where an issue of human rights has been given a communal colour", Gandhi said.