M A I N   N E W S

Post-rout, ‘very disappointed’ Sonia calls for introspection 
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 8
Faced with a rout in four states ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress top leadership on Sunday called for deep introspection over what went wrong, but vehemently contested the suggestion that today's results were a reflection of things to come.

The Congress' defeat acceptance speech came from party president Sonia Gandhi, who appeared in public after long with her son and party vice-president Rahul. The two accepted defeat and the fact that people were dejected with the Congress.

Sonia, however, trashed talk that today's poll results and Congress' decimation therein was a mirror to party's prospects in the 2014 General Elections. "State elections are fought on localised issues and General Elections on national issues. The two are very different," she said.

Sonia voiced her deep "disappointment" with the results and said the Congress accepted them with humility. "Naturally, the results call for deep introspection to understand why the party's message did not reach the people and to look at the way our party is equipped or not so equipped in running elections. People are unhappy with us or else there would not have been such results. We will introspect seriously and do whatever is needed to rectify our mistakes and our way of functioning," she said, giving a message of hope to her cadres.

The most significant political fallout of the Congress rout was its first public attempt to address the reigning crisis of leadership. Departing from past practice of citing India's parliamentary democracy as an escape route for questions of leadership, Sonia confronted the issue bravely when she said the party would name its PM candidate at the right time.

"People need not worry. The party has to, the party will decide… At the opportune time, the PM candidate will be named," she said when asked whether Rahul would now care to lead from the front considering BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi's wave is catching up.

Her reference came hours after Congress general secretary (Organisation) Janardan Dwivedi had said PM Manmohan Singh would continue to head the government as Rahul was in no hurry to take over.

Rahul who spoke to the media after his mother said the "Congress had heard the message of the people with its heart and had the ability to transform itself". "I am going to put all my efforts into transforming the Congress organization and give people a party wherein their voiced is deeply embedded," the Gandhi scion said, rejecting comparisons with Modi.

Importantly, Rahul did admit that the Congress had a great deal to learn from the Aam Aadmi Party which had "managed to involve people". "That's what we need to learn from AAP. We are going to involve people in ways you can't imagine.”





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