New Delhi: A day after Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi discussed the party's poll debacle with party leaders from Uttar Pradesh, the buzz now is how will he revamp the party organisation within the state. Party MLAs have blamed central leaders and their comments for the Congress' poll debacle. But will Rahul Gandhi now restructure the organisation to ensure a different result for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls?
Two days of meeting and several hours of discussion later, Rahul blamed everything but his own leadership for one of the worst performances by the Congress in the electorally and politically significant state of Uttar Pradesh. He admitted that the row over the Batla House encounter and the 9 per cent quota promise for Muslims could have undone whatever support he had possibly garnered for himself within the state.
At the brainstorming session held by him with party leaders, it was clear that the disconnect between the central leadership and the local leaders was just too great to be bridged easily.
Post-meeting, Congress leader Nawab Kazim Ali Khan said, "There are a lot of reasons for the defeat. There are many issues. Action should be taken against all those who worked against the party interests."
Rahul, however, has made it clear that he will not give up. Mission 2012 may have failed to take off but 2014 is waiting.
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee has been dissolved. The ministers have been asked to be in touch with local leaders, and in what may be seen as a refreshing move, a young leader from Delhi could possibly replace Rita Bahuguna Joshi.
Sources say that at the meeting, most partymen blamed senior Congress leaders Beni Prasad Verma, Sriprakash Jaiswal and Salman Khursheed for their comments regarding a 9 per cent sub-quota for Muslims, that could have ultimately created confusion and led to defeat.
Digvijaya Singh was not spared either for "not being able to take everyone along". It was further alleged that minority quota politics could have led to alienation of OBCs and others.
Prominent actor and Congress MP from Firozabad, Raj Babbar told reporters, "All issues were discussed with the MPs and members present. We have been told to prepare for 2014."
Rahul did take up the responsibility for the defeat when election results had poured in. However, now, by blaming party organisation, he has proved beyond all doubt the growing distance between the party high command in Delhi and the local leaders in UP.