Sonia unhappy with campaign, seeks corrective steps

  • Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 16, 2014 00:07 IST

Congress president Sonia Gandhi is believed to have vented her ire on the party's inability to project itself during the challenging Lok Sabha poll campaign.

Party insiders said the Congress erred a lot – from a late start to the campaign and faulty advertisements to making reluctant seniors contest the polls. For them, Murphy's Law – anything that can go wrong will go wrong – was at work throughout the campaign.

In her first stock-taking exercise after the polls, Gandhi on Tuesday met all general secretaries and some senior leaders. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was not present.

Sonia Gandhi expressed her dissatisfaction at the way the campaign was conducted. She observed that the party failed to highlight the UPA's achievements. She assured corrective measures after a few senior leaders underscored the lack of coordination between different sections of the party, sources said.

While Congress began the post-mortem of its campaign, a large section within felt Rahul's team of strategists let him down. Another section believed he needs to change his style of communicating.

Read:The epic battle of 2014: how it turned Indian politics

But Congress leaders have tried to insulate Rahul. While Kamal Nath said that the government failed to showcase its achievements, Jairam Ramesh pointed fingers at BJP's money power.

A Congress war room regular added that many seniors felt left out as Team Rahul, mostly comprising people from non-political background, took charge of the campaign in the initial stage. Priyanka Gandhi's involvement in the poll management helped bridge the gap to some extent.

Some leaders also felt that inputs provided to Rahul for his speech were often difficult to grasp. If he referred to UNICEF reports at a rally of rural tribal women in Madhya Pradesh, he cited a Harvard paper to talk about Jupiter's escape velocity at a meeting for dalits in Delhi.

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