The Congress doesn't seem to have learnt much from its poll debacle and has entrusted party general secretary Madhusudan Mistry with the task of identifying winnable candidates for the coming assembly polls in four states.
A clear favourite of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Mistry will send observers to different constituencies in poll-bound Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir to gather feedback about sitting MLAs and potential winners. The observers will then submit a report to him.
Interestingly, the experiment of identifying winnable candidates had failed in the general election, where the Congress registered its worst-ever poll performance, winning only 44 seats, 162 less than it had bagged in 2009. Mistry faced a lot of flak for the rout and also for the way he handled the party's affairs in the politically important state of Uttar Pradesh.
Mistry had himself lost to Narendra Modi in Vadodara by a margin of more than 5.7 lakh votes.
The latest move has, therefore, baffled many in the party. Some even privately wondered if "non-performance was the sole criteria for promotion" in the organisation.
"Mistry has failed the party. Why can't the leadership find better and more inspiring functionaries?" a party leader asked.
Mistry was not allowed to speak at a Gujarat Congress introspection meet in Ahmedabad last month, where party members had gathered to analyse the reasons for the Congress' poor show.
The leaders, in fact, heckled Mistry, asking him why he failed to raise pertinent issues before the central leadership to help improve the party's poll performance. He was also criticised at a recent review meeting in Uttar Pradesh.