Central ministers and MPs from Uttar Pradesh came under sharp criticism from the state’s defeated Congress candidates at a meeting chaired by party general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Thursday.
The meeting was held to analyse the outcome of the recent assembly elections in the politically important state. Party general secretary in charge of UP affairs Digvijaya Singh, who was not present at the brain-storming session, also faced flak for delays in ticket distribution.But most of the 153 candidates who lost but secured at least 20,000 votes, attributed their defeat to the damaging statements made by union ministers Salman Khurshid, Sriprakash Jaiswal and Beni Prasad Verma.
The three junior ministers from the state — Jitin Prasada, RPN Singh and Pradeep Jain — also came in the line of fire for what the candidates saw as their non-cooperation.
“There was complete disconnect between union ministers and party workers in the state. Most of the time, they not only refused to meet party workers but also ignored their suggestions and requests,” said a candidate.
Of the 37 assembly seats in the parliamentary constituencies of these six union ministers, the party won only three. Even some of their kin fared badly.
Khurshid's wife Louise stood fifth in Farrukhabad and Verma's son Rakesh came third in Dariyabad. A candidate pointed out that Vijay Singh, who won from Farrukhabad as an independent, had initially tried for a Congress ticket.
Gandhi also sought the defeated candidates' views on a form that had 13 questions, ranging from reasons for their defeat and whether they had received support from AICC, PCC, youth and student wings, Mahila Congress and Sewa Dal.
Those who attended the meeting felt Gandhi was in a good mood but continued his attack on rival parties in the state. On Friday, he will meet winners and party MPs to work out the strategy for the coming civic polls in UP and the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.