Congress to 'introspect' poll defeat, Sonia calls for meeting | india | Hindustan Times
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Congress to 'introspect' poll defeat, Sonia calls for meeting

Party under pressure after electoral defeats in four states, maybe forced to break with tradition and name a prime ministerial candidate for 2014 elections.

india Updated: Dec 09, 2013 17:07 IST

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has called a meeting of senior party leaders in Delhi on Monday after the party's defeat in four assembly elections.

Among those invited for the meeting included party general secretaries who have been in-charge of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Delhi, party sources said.

Sonia on Sunday had announced the party will name its prime ministerial candidate at an “opportune time”. The announcement was made under pressure mounting that the party name its prime ministerial candidate to take on BJP’s Narendra Modi.

“People need not worry as at an opportune time the name of the prime ministerial candidate will be announced,” Gandhi said.

Asked if her son and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi would be the party’s choice, she initially appeared reluctant to give an answer but said, “We will make a statement. The party has to decide. The party will."

Again on Sunday, a senior Congress leader called the Congress's defeat a "collective failure" and said Rahul cannot be blamed for it. "Congress is not a one-man show--it is a collective defeat and collective failure," said Union minister Jayanthi Natarajan.

"We will introspect on our losses, we will see where we have gone wrong and I am very sure as happened in 1998-99 when we won state elections and lost the Lok Sabha -- as happened in 2003 when BJP actually won the assembly polls and lost the Lok Sabha," she said.

Though the party had fought the 2004 general elections under her leadership, Sonia declined the post and instead named Manmohan Singh for the top post. In 2009, she had made it abundantly clear that Singh would continue to be the Prime Minister if the Congress-led UPA was voted back to power.

With the BJP having already named Modi as its candidate, pressure is mounting on the Congress to bring clarity on the leadership issue ahead of the next year’s Lok Sabha elections.