Today in New Delhi, India
Nov 21, 2018-Wednesday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Congress looks for rout relief

Congress president Sonia Gandhi convened a meeting of the Congress Working Committee for Sunday to review developments and begin framing future strategies.

india Updated: Dec 06, 2003 01:13 IST

The Congress leadership moved on Friday to take stock of the situation after its heavy losses in three states and begin a damage-control exercise. Congress president Sonia Gandhi convened a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) for Sunday to review developments and begin framing future strategies.

The day-after wrap

Raman for Raipur: The Chhattisgarh BJP chief (above) will be sworn in as chief minister on Sunday
Raja resigns: Digvijay Singh quit on Friday to make way for Uma Bharti. She takes over on Monday
All clear in Jaipur: Vasundhara Raje will be formally elected Rajasthan legislature party chief on Saturday. She too assumes office on Monday
Deep thought in Delhi: Sonia Gandhi called a CWC meeting to evaluate the situation. Knives could be out for general secretary Ambika Soni

It looked likely that a round of bloodletting would begin at Sunday's meeting. And Ambika Soni, the AICC general secretary in charge of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, where the Congress suffered its biggest losses, looks likely to be the prime target.

Soni owned responsibility for the debacle and offered to resign when she met Sonia on Thursday.

Though the Congress chief didn't take a call on the offer, sources said veteran leaders from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh were likely to target Soni. The strategy of owning responsibility is being seen as an attempt to counter these attacks, which, given Soni's proximity to Sonia, might be construed as attacks on the party president.

Outgoing chief ministers Digvijay Singh and Ajit Jogi will probably have to take the blame for the routs in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

While the Congress was in turmoil, the BJP camp was getting ready to take over in the three states it won.

State party chief Raman Singh on Friday won the race for the chief minister's post in Chhattisgarh. Singh, who was elected leader of the BJP Legislature Party on Friday, will be sworn in as chief minister on Sunday, with Nankiram Kanwar, a tribal leader, likely to be his deputy.

In Rajasthan, state BJP chief Vasundhara Raje was just a step behind. BJP legislators will meet on Saturday to elect her the leader of the legislative party. She will be sworn in as chief minister on Monday.

Madhya Pradesh party chief Uma Bharti will also be sworn in as chief minister on Monday. BJP legislators are expected to elect her leader of the legislative party on Sunday. The decks for her take-over were cleared on Friday, with Digvijay Singh submitting his resignation.

In Delhi, the process of forming the new government will begin next week. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit will have to decide on replacements for the late Industry Minister Deep Chand Bandhu, and Finance Minister Mahender Singh Saathi and Deputy Speaker Kiran Chaudhary, who lost their seats.

Meanwhile, Deputy PM L.K. Advani said in the Capital that the general elections would be held on schedule next September.

(With inputs from Saroj Nagi, Pradip Kumar Maitra, Abhilash Khandekar, Kumar Shakti Shekhar and D.K. Singh)

First Published: Dec 06, 2003 01:13 IST