In the wake of Congress' worst-ever performance in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, the party's state unit discussed reasons for what went wrong in the party that was drubbed in almost all assembly segments.
State Congress chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu had widespread discussions with the presidents of the block units to ascertain the reasons for the party's defeat in the elections. Sukhu had earlier asked all the district presidents to compile a detailed report on performance of the party candidates at polling booths of the party officer-bearers including that of block, district and Pradesh Congress Committee.
Besides, he also sought report on performance of ministers, MLAs, chairmen, vice-chairmen and directors in various corporations in their respective polling booths.
Sukhu sought constituency wise feedback from all presidents. In marathon meeting that lasted for nearly eight hours, presidents of block units expressed concern over non-performance of leaders who were accommodated on different political posts in the government. Block presidents also gave their inputs on performance of ministers and the legislators in their respective blocks.
Party sources said candidates failed to secure lead in booths of four cabinet ministers, while the number of chairmen and vice-chairmen who could not perform in their own booths was sizeable.
Congress candidates in Kangra, Shimla, Hamirpur and Mandi failed to secure lead in 60 assembly segments. Barring two ministers - industries minister Mukesh Agnihotri and forest minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri -other ministers were drubbed in their own assembly segments. BJP candidate secured lead of over 1,700 votes in chief minister Virbhadra Singh's assembly segment - Shimla rural.
There were widespread complaints of lack of coordination between block units and legislators, including the ministers in different assembly segments. Block units resented that instead of “grassroot” and hardcore Congressmen local leaders were given preference owing to personal loyalties while planning the development of their respective assembly segments.
“People who have been nowhere in the electoral politics are being given preference by the government,” rued one of block unit presidents at the meeting.
Block unit presidents also rued that the party workers were being ignored by the government which was having demoralising effect on the party cadres.
Taking into account first hand feedback from the block units, Sukhu will have threadbare discussions with the party observers appointed for all 68 assembly constituencies before finalising strategy to strengthen party at the grassroot level.
Sukhu tells party workers not to get demoralised by defeat
State party president Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Friday called for rejuvenating the party, He asked the block president to focus more on booths. Addressing the meeting, Sukhu said, “Victory and defeat are two sides of the same coin. Workers should not get demoralised by the party's dismal performance,” Sukhu said.
He said they should work towards regaining the party's strength. “The Congress has bounced back after facing worst times in the country's political history,” he said.
He said booth level workers needed to strengthen the party and in future analysis would be done on booth level.
Since block Congress committee was strongest unit of the party, he said this meeting was convened to get the feedback from the grassroot level. “We need to work hard to strengthen the party after assessing the reason for the defeat,” Sukhu added.