Sonia Gandhi (IANS/File photo)

Sonia Gandhi (IANS/File photo)

Sonia Gandhi asks State Congress chiefs in five states to quit after poll debacle

New Delhi, March 15, 2022

Congress President Sonia Gandhi today asked the party's chiefs in the five states where it suffered a debacle in the recent assembly elections to quit their posts ahead of a reorganisation of the Pradesh Congress Committees (PCCs).

"Congress President Sonia Gandhi has asked the PCC Presidents of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa & Manipur to put in their resignations in order to facilitate reorganisation of PCCs," Congress spokesperson said on Twitter.

Those who have been asked to resign include Navjot Sidhu (Punjab), Ganesh Godiyal (Uttarakhand), Nameirakpam Loken Singh (Manipur), Ajay Kumar Lallu (UP) and Girish Chodankar (Goa).

In the elections held between February 10 and March 7, and in which votes were counted on March 10, the Congress was ousted from power in Punjab, where the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has wrested office with an overwhelming majority, and fared badly in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur, where the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) retained power.

The move by Gandhi came two days after the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision-making body of the party, held a marathon meeting here to discuss the debacle and unanimously reaffairmed its faith in her leadership and urged her to effect comprehensive organisational changes.

"The CWC unanimously reaffirms its faith in the leadership of Smt. Sonia Gandhi and requests the Congress President to lead from the front, address the organisational weaknesses, effect necessary and comprehensive organisational changes in order to take on the political challenges," a statement issued by the party at the end of the four-and-half hour meeting said.

"The recent Assembly election results of five states are a cause of serious concern for the Indian National Congress. The party accepts that due to shortcomings in our strategy, we could not effectively expose the misrule of BJP State Governments in four states and overcome the anti-incumbency in the State of Punjab in the short time after effecting a change of leadership," said the CWC statement.

The statement said the Congress represented "the hopes of millions of Indians against political authoritarianism prevailing in the country today and the party is fully conscious of its immense responsibility".

"While humbly accepting the electoral verdict of the latest round of Assembly elections, the Congress party assures its workers and the people of India that it will continue to remain a vigilant and vibrant Opposition. The Congress Party will be fully prepared to face the electoral challenges in the election-going states in 2022 & 2023 as well as in the Lok Sabha elections 2024," the statement said.

The party also decided to hold a "Chintan Shivir" (brainstorming session) after the current session of Parliament to consider various proposals for rejuvenating the party. The CWC will meet again ahead of the Chintan Shivir.

Apart from Sonia Gandhi, who presided, the meeting was attended by senior leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as well as "dissenters" such as Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma, who are part of a group of 23 leaders (G23) who have been calling for comprehensive changes in the party.

Others who attended the meeting included Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Mallikarjun Kharge, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Secretary (Organisation) K. C. Venugopal, P. Chidambaram, Shaktisinh Gohil, Vivek Bansal, Dinesh Gundu Rao, B V Srinivas (Youth Congress president), Devendra Yadav, Harish Rawat, Tariq Anwar, Ambika Soni, Digvijaya Singh and Rajeev Shukla.

Some leaders feel that the party must fix accountability for the defeat and make urgent changes in the composition of the CWC to devise a new strategy for the coming elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.


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