Though the Congress did not perform as per expectations in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, it was seen as a serious player in the country’s most politically important state for the first time, party president Sonia Gandhi said on Wednesday.
Addressing the Congress Parliamentary party (CPP) meeting, she said the party's voteshare in the 2012 elections had increased “quite considerably”.
Gandhi’s remarks were interpreted by political observers as a virtual thumbs up to party general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s efforts to revive the Congress’s fortunes in UP, after it was voted out of power in 1989.
These remarks have come two days after a three-member Congress panel, headed by defence minister AK Antony and comprising Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit and union power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, submitted its report to Sonia on the reasons behind the party’s poll debacle in UP, Goa and Punjab — besides the below par performance in Uttarakhand.
Rahul led the Congress election campaign from the front, addressing 211 public meetings across UP in just 45 days. The party ended up winning 28 seats, 6 more than it had bagged in 2007 elections. It also managed to increase its vote share by 3.03% to 11.63% this time, up from 8.61% in 2007.
But this was a significant drop from the 18.25% the party secured in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
During her first interaction with party MPs after the poll drubbing, Gandhi termed the election results in Punjab and Goa as “very disappointing”. She, however, said the party was satisfied that it had returned to power in Manipur for the third time and managed to form the government in Uttarakhand.
Rahul Gandhi was present at the meeting.