M A I N   N E W S

Sonia asks party men to end bickering
Stays Congress leader in Parliament
Hints at major party revamp
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 24
Meeting for the first time since its rout in the recent Lok Sabha elections, Congress Parliamentary Party today re-elected Sonia Gandhi as its leader in both Houses.

The election came at a time when Congress leaders are busy blaming each other for the poll debacle and voices of distrust in the leadership of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi (who led the poll campaign) are growing louder.

That explains why Sonia, after being elected today, warned colleagues against this ongoing blame game saying finger-pointing won’t help.

“Your inputs, your experience and your assessment of our strengths and weaknesses — rather than public acrimony — will be critical to the exercise of revamping the party organisation… I will meet you more often,” Sonia said admitting that the Congress failed to gauge the widespread anger people had against it.

The party president thus delivered a subtle yet clear message to all leaders to end finger-pointing in which Rahul and his advisers (AICC general secretaries Madhusudan Mistry, CP Joshi, Mohan Prakash and Minister Jairam Ramesh among others) are under attack and said: “We have to individually and collectively draw lessons from our unprecedented defeat.”

Sonia said this after outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reminded the party of her forceful leadership over the past decade. Her name as CPP leader was proposed by senior MP Mallikarjun Kharge and seconded by Mohsina Kidwai among others.

Though the CPP resolution passed later backed Sonia and Rahul’s leadership saying: “The CPP resolves to regroup, rebuild and revive under their leadership”, it could not stop veterans from seeking a formal entry of Sonia’s daughter and Rahul’s younger and more charismatic sibling Priyanka Gandhi into the party.

Party’s Amritsar MP reiterated after the meeting: “Priyanka may be working with Rahul in her private capacity as his sister but it is now time for her to formally join the Congress. Rahul and Priyanka make a good team. If Priyanka comes, we can formally engage with her and Rahul and revive the party.” Outgoing food minister KV Thomas said the same thing earlier.

Sonia, while reflecting her pain on the scale of her party’s defeat, hinted at massive restructuring of the organisation at all levels. The Tribune has learnt that a comprehensive report on Congress debacle could be prepared.





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