Sonia blames it on price rise, wrong choice of candidates

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday ruled out any “damage” to the UPA government in the wake of electoral outcomes in which, she said, wrong choice of candidates and weak organisation in U.P. played a role in the party’s dismal performance.

She said price rise could have been a factor for the party’s poor performance in the elections and declared that the Congress has to “pull up its socks” for the coming battles in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka.

Appearing before the media a day after the party’s dismal showing in assembly elections to U.P., Punjab and Goa, Ms. Gandhi said a meeting of all the leaders, including from the states, will be called to analyse the reasons.

“Every election is a lesson for us, whether we win or lose, there is a lesson for us,” Ms. Gandhi said.

Asked about the reasons that could have impacted the party’s performance, she said in U.P., weak organisational structure and wrong choice of candidates could have been the factors.

Queried whether there was lack of leadership, she responded, “I would say rather than lack of leadership, (there are) too many leaders… That is our problem.”

Ms. Gandhi acknowledged inflation could have been factor for Congress’ poor performance.

On the party’s performance in Amethi and Rae Bareli, Gandhi said, “There have been such defeats earlier.

“People were not happy with the sitting MLAs… the new candidates won,” she said.

The Congress President said that the party organisation was weak in Uttar Pradesh. “There was disenchantment with the BSP and the SP was the alternative,” she said.

Ms. Gandhi said every election was a lesson and the party “will sit down, review the results and work out a plan to correct the mistakes we have made.”

On Uttarakhand, Ms. Gandhi said the Congress had the numbers and the party should be called to form the government.

She said the party had hoped to form a government in Punjab but could not due to damage done by the Punjab People’s Party (PPP), floated by Akali Dal rebel Manpreet Singh Badal.

“The PPP damaged us in 23 seats,” she said.

Ms. Gandhi said many voters were unhappy with the party in Goa and, therefore “they voted against us“.

Asked whether corruption was an issue in the elections, she claimed that the Congress was the only party fighting against corruption.

“We passed the Lokpal bill in Lok Sabha…But who blocked it in the Rajya Sabha?” she asked.

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