The assembly election result debacle has shaken up the entire Congress Party. After their complete decimation, veteran leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday said that the situation is alarming for the party.
The party managed to win only 55 of the 690 seats spread across the five states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa in the results declared on Thursday. It lost Punjab to the Aam Aadmi Party and failed to wrest power from the Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur.
In Uttar Pradesh, the Congress won just two seats in the 403-member state Assembly. With this, the party’s footprint in India has shrunk to just two states – Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
In Maharashtra, the Congress is in a coalition government with the Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party. Azad, a part of the group of 23 leaders or G-23, who had written to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to push for internal reforms, on Thursday said that he was sad and depressed by the drubbing. “At least, I expected that we will win in two-three states and improve our situation in Uttar Pradesh, but nothing of that sort happened,” he said.
The former leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha added that those who worked for the party for years cannot “watch it dying like this”. He expressed hope that the Congress leadership would take note of the shortcomings, which the G-23 members have been raising “for quite some time”.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who is also a G-23 member, said in a tweet, “...to reform our organisational leadership in a manner that will reignite those ideas and inspire the people. One thing is clear – Change is unavoidable if we need to succeed”.
At a press conference, party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that Sonia Gandhi will soon convene a meeting of the Congress Working Committee to examine the election results. We will introspect on the causes of the defeat, work on the organisation and try to do better in the future,” he added.
“We are definitely disappointed but not demoralised. We have only lost the elections, not our courage. We are not going anywhere, we will keep fighting until we win. We will reinvent ourselves and come back with a new strategy.”
Earlier in the day, Rahul Gandhi said the party would learn from these election results. “Humbly accept the people’s verdict,” he added. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said that the party workers had worked very hard in Uttar Pradesh to raise people’s problems but could not convert that into votes.