After the Congress party suffered severe drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi criticised party workers for not working hard enough to ensure the party’s victory in the general election. The moral of the party workers is low, after the Congress party’s poor performance in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections. Priyanka Gandhi had accompanied her mother Sonia Gandhi for the Thanksgiving visit to Rae Bareli.
When AV spoke to Congress MLC Anant Gadgil, he said, “Priyanka has commented about the local situation of the party and not on a pan-India basis. Former prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had said that the Congress party will only defeat itself. There are several reasons for the party’s defeat.”
“In 2011, I had written an article in a renowned Marathi newspaper mentioning that Dr. Manmohan Singh had taken the nation forward by presenting new economic policy. However, the Congress has distanced itself from poor people, SC, ST, and minorities. If this situation continues then the Congress will find itself in a difficult situation. People might blame Rahul Gandhi for the Congress’s defeat but the party had won assembly polls in four states under his leadership,” he added.
In a thanksgiving rally after the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi won the election from Rae Bareli, a dejected Priyanka Gandhi said that she would only speak the truth. She stated, “I did not want to deliver any speech here but since I have been made to speak, let me speak the truth. The truth is that this election was won with the assistance of Sonia Gandhi and the people of Rae Bareli.”
Priyanka Gandhi who is made Congress eastern UP in-charge said that she will find out the names of workers who have failed to work for the victory of the party in the Lok Sabha polls. She said, “Everyone is aware of those who had worked hard and I will find out those names that have not worked for the party for the general elections.”
Even though Priyanka Gandhi had worked hard during the Lok Sabha polls but the party managed to emerge victorious in Rae Bareli only. To make matters worse, BJP leader Smriti Irani defeated Congress president Rahul Gandhi from Amethi which is known as the stronghold of the Congress.
BJP MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar said, “People lack confidence about the Congress party’s leadership which is responsible for the party’s defeat. Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are failed leaders. People were happy with the performance of the Modi government; hence, they have voted for BJP for the second time.”
Priyanka Gandhi now faces an uphill task to revive the fortunes of the Congress party in the upcoming bypolls and Uttar Pradesh assembly polls in 2022. According to sources, the weak organisational structure was responsible for the party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha elections. Priyanka Gandhi has already asked the party workers to start preparations for the upcoming bypolls on 12 seats. The party also is examining the reasons for Rahul Gandhi’s defeat in Amethi.
Political expert Abdul Wahab said, “Yes, it is true that the Congress party workers did not work which was the main reason for the party’s defeat. The VIP culture is still prevalent within the Congress. There was a lack of communication between senior leadership and the party workers. Rahul Gandhi was the lone leader who was working for the party’s development.”
“Most of the MPs and Congress president of Maharashtra have lost polls. The Congress party’s cadre too has become weak. Leaders like Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil have switched loyalties towards BJP. The party has failed to address the internal rift prevalent within the outfit,” he added.
A report citing the reasons behind the party’s defeat was also submitted to Priyanka. The non-cooperation of Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party grassroot level workers also is another reason behind the party’s poor showing in the Lok Sabha elections. The Congress put up a poor show in Lok Sabha polls by winning a meagre 52 seats. In Karnataka, the party won only one seat with senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge losing by a huge margin. The Congress won only three seats in three states — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh, where it formed governments in December 2018. This time also the party won’t be able to claim the post of Leader of Opposition (LoP).
NCP general secretary DP Tripathi said, “There are several reasons behind the defeat of the Congress party. The Congress leadership has failed to inspire party workers; hence, they did not work. It is not right to blame the workers for the defeat. The organisational structure of the party is weak.”
Rahul Gandhi had offered to step down in the aftermath of the Congress party’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha polls. Rahul had submitted his resignation to the Congress Working Committee but it was rejected by the CWC. Rahul, nonetheless, was adamant on his stand to resign. Later, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala stated that Rahul will continue to remain as the Congress President.