Congress president Rahul Gandhi will visit Shimla on Friday to seek feedback from party workers and candidates on the reasons for their recent defeat in the state assembly polls. This will be Gandhi’s first trip to the state capital after taking over the reins of the party. Congress general secretary Naresh Chauhan said the party president will conduct two sessions – one in the forenoon and another in the afternoon – in this regard. “Rahulji will meet the party’s senior leaders, besides other officer-bearers and candidates, to assess the causes of our defeat,” he explained.The Congress secured 21 of the 68 seats in the state assembly, with its voting percentage decreasing from 42.81% to 41%.A few days ago, the Congress had undertaken a first-of-its-kind review to analyse the electoral reverses suffered in the Himachal Pradesh assembly polls. A majority of the candidates cited infighting, “sabotage” by local leaders, and lack of resources as the reasons for their defeat. In a meeting chaired by All India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge Sushil Kumar Shinde, party candidates and legislators recommended strict action against a number of local and top-rung leaders who allegedly worked against the party’s interests during the polls. While some presented audio and video clippings as proof of certain Congressmen “sabotaging” the party’s electoral prospects, others reportedly accused former chief minister Virbhadra Singh of promoting local leaders who had their own interests in mind. Among the complainants was Deepak Rathore, who was said to have produced videographic proof of certain Congress leaders backing CPI(M) candidate Rakesh Singha in the elections.Singha, who had emerged victorious from the Shimla urban seat in 1993, made it to the Vidhan Sabha from Theog on this occasion. The returning officer had rejected the nomination of Vidya Stokes, a veteran Congress leader, for failing to complete the required formalities.