UP election debacle: Congress leaders want structural changes, but back Rahul

The wipeout in the assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand has again triggered a blame game and clamour for ‘surgery’.

assembly elections Updated: Mar 16, 2017 07:24 IST
Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar (right), seen here with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, has offered to resign taking moral responsibility for the poll debacle in the state.(PTI File)

The clamour for structural changes in the Congress grew louder on Wednesday even as party’s Uttar Pradesh chief Raj Babbar offered to resign taking moral responsibility for the poll debacle in the state.

The wipeout in UP and Uttarakhand has again triggered a blame game and clamour for “surgery”. “The Congress has shown repeatedly that it suffers from an auto-immune disease. Congress destroys Congress. We need to be treated from within to be healthy again,” tweeted Priya Dutt, former Lok Sabha MP.

Later, she told reporters in Mumbai, “We need to put our heads together and rebuild the party. It’s not about one person. This party has not been about one person. It has been about a collective.”

On Tuesday, senior Congress leader Satyvrat Chaturvedi had called for a “cardiac surgery” in the party.

Another senior leader, Anil Shastri, said that party vice-president Rahul Gandhi is not to be blamed for the UP defeat. “How can we blame RG for UP? He tried his best with total commitment & passion but the people opted for BJP’s promises as they did in 2014,” he tweeted.

“Our campaign in UP was focused & forceful. Rallies & roadshows were impressive but perhaps we couldn’t carry conviction with the electorate. Similarly our over emphasis on threat of communalism acted as a tool for the BJP to polarise the electorate on communal lines…” he said in a series of tweets.

Shastri blamed former CM Harish Rawat for the Uttarakhand debacle . “He should have gone for a mid-term poll after he was reinstated by court. There was great sympathy in favour of Harish Rawat as the people believed that he was ousted through machinations of the Central govt. Rawat was advised but took no heed & see what has he done to the Congress. He couldn’t even take his partymen along including his PCC Chief,” he said in related tweets.

“Our national leaders worked hard in the five states, which went to polls, including UP. We failed to win UP,” Babbar said. “You don’t change party leadership for losses in one or two elections. The leadership is ideology. They make teams. Our team failed in UP.”

Babbar and other leaders defended Gandhi and insisted that the party’s stupendous victory in Punjab and good performances in Goa and Manipur are a clear indication that the people do not support the BJP’s ‘Congress-mukt Bharat (Congress-free India)’ slogan.

Babbar said, “I take moral responsibility for the party’s defeat... I was given the responsibility but I could not fulfil it. I could not live up to the expectations despite energy and efforts invested by Rahul Gandhi. I will do what is required.”

On the other hand, the Congress leadership refused to accept the resignation of general secretary BK Hariprasad, who had offered to quit following the party’s rout in the recent panchayat elections in Odisha.

First Published: Mar 16, 2017 07:23 IST