Party insiders say that the state leadership was unable to bring the accountability factor into play.
NEW DELHI: After a shocking defeat in the recently held Gujarat Assembly elections by winning only 17 seats out of 182, the Congress is taking stock of its shortcomings by talking to its losing candidates. Party insiders say that the state leadership was unable to bring accountability factor into play, thereby allowing most of its leaders to act irresponsibly and against the party’s interests.
Raghu Sharma, ex-Congress in-charge of Gujarat Congress, in an interview to a media organisation recently, had said, “I was given 14 months to rejuvenate the party when all its district units had almost shut their offices. My task was to first reorganise the organisational setup. To my dismay, more and more party cadres were shedding their membership to join the BJP.”
However, all party leaders are not happy with Sharma’s management style, which, they claim, was slow in formulating adequate response to party-related problems. The senior leaders in the party while counting several causes for their decline pointed out that it was Sharma who used to say, “Jo jana chahta hai Congress se jasakhta hai” (whosoever wants to leave the Congress can leave), which added fuel to fire among leaders who were already resenting their weak and dwindling organisational setup, as well as lack of damage control management from the state leadership.
Simultaneously, the party is assessing the role of AAP which was responsible for division of its vote share. Political observers in the state blame the party leadership of apparently being incompetent in containing the AAP, as well as being devoid of pointed strategy against the BJP’s organisational juggernaut. Senior leaders echo the leadership failure in the party.
Asked if the Gujarat Congress is going the Uttar Pradesh way, Manish Doshi, Congress spokesperson in Gujarat, told The Sunday Guardian, “No, it is better than Uttar Pradesh; even today, there are 18,000 villages in Gujarat where we have people who believe in the ideology of Congress, who support Congress and want to work for the Congress. There is not even a single village in Gujarat where Congress workers are not participating. People respect our ideology.”
He further added, “Yes we lack in our activities in urban areas. There is around 45% area in Gujarat which is urban and while reckoning the area, the Congress is nowhere in 243 nagar palikas and 8 mahanagars. Moreover, there are 54 Assembly seats in urban areas and to our dismay, Congress has made no efforts in these areas. No work has been done to optimise the visibility of the party on 54 seats. I had given a report in to the AICC in 2012 and even today, there is no work done on that. Now, we have even seen a decline in grameen areas.”