'Need to put house in order,' Sonia Gandhi tells Congress
Acknowledging the "disappointing" results and the Congress's dismal performance in the recently-held Assembly elections, chief Sonia Gandhi on Monday said the party must take note of "serious setbacks" and "put our house in order." At a virtual Congress Working Committee meeting, June 23 was proposed as the date to hold the long-awaited internal polls for the party chief. However, CWC members opposed the date.
Small group will assess why Congress failed in elections: Gandhi
The senior leader said that a small group will be set up to assess every aspect that contributed to the party's electoral losses. "We have to take note of our serious setbacks. To say we are deeply disappointed is to make an understatement," she said, adding that she will report back on the group's assessment "very quickly," according to NDTV.
Deliberations to prepare for next round of Assembly elections
Gandhi said the party needed to understand why it failed to dislodge incumbent governments in Kerala and Assam, and drew a complete blank in West Bengal. These deliberations would help it prepare for the next round of Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa, and Manipur. In Tamil Nadu, the party was part of the winning DMK-led alliance. However, it lost in Puducherry.
'If we don't face reality, we won't draw right lessons'
Gandhi said that senior leaders from Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, and West Bengal—the states/union territory that went to poll in March and April this year—would be asked to "brief us, very frankly, on our performance." "These will yield uncomfortable lessons, but if we do not face up to the reality...we will not draw the right lessons," she said.
Election of Congress chief deferred owing to COVID-19 situation
Meanwhile, Gandhi's proposal of holding an election for the party's new chief on June 23 was opposed by Congress leaders in view of the prevailing COVID-19 situation. Eventually, the party decided to indefinitely postpone the same. In 2019, Rahul Gandhi had tweeted his resignation from the post after the Congress had lost in the Lok Sabha elections for the second time in a row.
Congress leaders have called for full-time, effective leadership
In the recent past, senior Congress leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Shashi Tharoor, and Kapil Sibal have called for "full-time" and "effective leadership" that will be "visible" and "active" in the field. Last August, over 20 of them wrote a letter to Gandhi, calling for reforms including the decentralization of power, empowerment of state units and organizational elections at every level.
Country paying price for government's neglect amid COVID-19 crisis: Gandhi
At the CWC meeting, Gandhi also expressed concern over a third COVID-19 wave and alleged India's healthcare system has "all but collapsed." "Scientific advice has been willfully ignored and the country is paying a horrendous price for the Modi government's neglect of the pandemic...its willful patronage of super-spreader events that were allowed for partisan gains," she said in her opening remarks, reported NDTV.