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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Congress to examine poll rout in Punjab

PTI  New Delhi, May 21, 2014
First Published: 14:32 IST(21/5/2014) | Last Updated: 14:55 IST(21/5/2014)

Congress will soon constitute a high-level committee to examine why it failed to get the expected results in the Lok Sabha polls in Punjab, the party's first exercise to set its house in order after the poll debacle.

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"We are constituting a committee of five senior leaders outside Punjab in a day or two to go find out why the party failed to get the desired results in the Lok Sabha elections in the state," AICC general secretary Shakeel Ahmed, who is in-charge of party affairs in Punjab, told PTI.

The results in Punjab as also in several other states have come as a huge disappointment to the party. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has already hinted at revamping the organisation, including making structural changes.

Of the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, AAP took four, ruling SAD won four and its ally BJP bagged two. Congress won only three seats. In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Congress had picked up eight seats while SAD had taken four with BJP won only one seat.

The only solace for Congress in the state was from the prestigious Amritsar constituency, where former chief minister and party nominee Amarinder Singh defeated Arun Jaitley, despite SAD backing him to the hilt.

Ahmed's announcement comes at a time when infighting is on the rise.

After Congress' poor performance in the Lok Sabha polls in Punjab, infighting is on the rise in the state unit as several party leaders demanded resignation of PPCC chief Partap Singh Bajwa.

"Despite widespread anti-incumbency prevailing against the Akali-BJP government in the state, it was one of the worst performances by the party," the leaders pointed out.

Openly batting for former chief minister Amarinder Singh, who defeated senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley from Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, the leaders said, "It is important to boost the morale of the party in Punjab and hand over the leadership to a strong, powerful and charismatic leader like Amarinder Singh."

It is high time that Congress high command should take immediate and radical steps, lest it is too late and the party suffers further, they said.

Partap Singh Bajwa, the Gurdaspur MP who lost to BJP's Vinod Khanna, had conceded that the Congress could not fully respond to the sentiment of the people which was characterised by anger against the Akali Dal-BJP government in the state.

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