NEW DELHI: Soon after its crash on Thursday in another set of state elections, the Congress received lacerating, unsolicited advice from one of its senior leaders.
“Today’s results disappointing but not unexpected. We have done enough Introspection shouldn’t we go for a Major Surgery ?” tweeted Congress leader Digvijaya Singh.
The tweet was posted not long after party president Sonia Gandhi’s statement promising introspection.
“We will introspect into the reasons for our loss and will rededicate ourselves to the service of the people with greater vigour,” Mrs Gandhi said.
After another devastating day of defeats, the statement was unsettling even for leaders within the Congress.
The Congress has lost Assam to the BJP and Kerala to the Left Front. It is left with just one major state – Karnataka – and effectively rules over only six per cent of India.
In Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the party’s partnerships, formed in desperation, failed.
Shashi Tharoor, a Congress parliamentarian from Kerala, also suggested that the party needs to “move beyond this cliched introspection business into some serious action.”
But in a trademark reaction to defeat, the Congress fire-walled its big two, especially Rahul Gandhi, against criticism and used the occasion to once again raise demands for elevating the 45-year-old vice president to the post of president.
In 2014, Mr Gandhi led the party to its worst-ever national election result of 44 Lok Sabha seats.
After the rout, the party asked its senior leaders to assess the problems and submit their reports on a revival plan. Digvijaya Singh was among them. But no change has been made in the party in the last two years and it has hurtled from disaster to disaster, apart from its bit role in the Nitish Kumar-led alliance that won Bihar last year.
Mr Singh, asked yesterday if the BJP’s call for ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’ was becoming a reality, said: “Congress has always bounced back from such situations, though the current trend is a matter of serious concern.”
The Congress and its allies now rule seven of India’s 29 states. Six of these will hold elections by 2018.