After every poll defeat, Congress trusts Antony to probe

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 09, 2014 14:54 IST

Every time the Congress faces poll rout, Congress president Sonia Gandhi entrusts her loyalist AK Antony to go into the reasons for the debacle.

Since 1999, Antony has headed almost all such party panels and on all occasions absolved the leadership of any responsibility.

Following the party's poor show in 1999 elections in which it won only 114 Lok Sabha seats, Sonia constituted an eleven-member committee to analyse the defeat and suggest corrective measures. After months of deliberations, the panel submitted its report running into hundreds of pages, listing major reasons for the defeat.

The report was never made public.

Antony also headed a similar committee for Karnataka elections in 2008, and was asked to suggest steps for improving the party performance in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and Mizoram for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

Antony was again picked up to head a panel to look into the reasons for the drubbing in the 2012 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Punjab.

In between, a committee, headed by Pranab Mukherjee, was formed in 2003 after the party's defeat in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh assemblies and also to come up with a roadmap for the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.

The findings of these committees too, as many Congress leaders privately say, were meant for the eyes of Gandhi only.

But this time, the clamour for making the Antony committee report for 2014 elections public and fixing the responsibility has increased. "The findings should be made available to all party members. We want results… responsibilities should be fixed," a senior leader said.

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