New Delhi: Stressing that he was “not the one to get defeated”, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi Friday indicated that the party’s Uttar Pradesh unit could be dissolved for a new look and that party functionaries will be held accountable for the work entrusted to them.
Gandhi, who Friday met party MPs, legislators, union ministers and some former party MPs from Uttar Pradesh as part of stocktaking of the party’s poor performance in the assembly polls, told them that he will ensure that the party is strengthened in the state.
According to former party MP Rajesh Kumar Mishra, who attended the meeting, Gandhi said he was not the one to accept defeat.
“‘Main harne wala nahin hoon’ (I am not the one to get defeated) Rahul said,” according to Mishra.
Mishra said Gandhi asked the MPs if he should dissolve the state unit, and the response was in the affirmative.
“The response was unanimous yes. The MPs told him to reconstitute it in the way he wanted,” Mishra told IANS.
He said, Gandhi also asked MPs if he should fix responsibility for the party’s poor performance.
“They (the MPs) said accountability should be fixed from today evening,” Mishra said.
Gandhi told party leaders that indiscipline will not be tolerated and union ministers should address concerns of workers.
Gandhi spoke about forming a complaint cell so that workers can complain against ministers who do not listen to them.
The Congress general secretary indicated that sincere workers will be entrusted responsibilities.
MPs told Gandhi that certain statements made during the campaign had hurt the party. Though union ministers Salman Khurshid, Beni Prasad Verma and Sri Prakash Jaiswal were not named, the MPs said controversial statements should not have been made.
“Lots of statements were made which should not have been made,” a party leader told IANS after the meeting.
He said party MP P. L. Punia conveyed his unhappiness about remarks of a union minister about him but did not take any name.
Party leader Salim Shervani said the discussions were “frank” and Gandhi made it clear that he was there to “stay” in UP.
He said Gandhi told the leaders to remove shortcomings so that the party was prepared for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Shervani said among the reasons identified for party’s poor performance were weakness of organisation, failure to convert support into votes, problems in ticket distribution, inability of the party to project itself as alternative to Bahujan Samaj Party and statements concerning Batla house encounter and reservation for Muslims.
He said the party had no reason to be desperate in the state as it had registered increase in its vote share and had finished among the top three in around 200 seats.
“It is easier to win (in the next election) if you have 25,000 votes… Now we have to take this forward,” he said.
State Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi had told reporters earlier in the day that Gandhi had spoken about making necessary changes in the state unit.
“Whatever is necessary will be done. Such indications have been given,” she said.
Party leader Kazim Ali, who met Gandhi in the afternoon, said that non-performers will be “sacrificed.
“There will be a decision soon. Within a month. Who will go and who all will be inducted, only time will tell,” he said.
Gandhi had Thursday interacted with party candidates who had polled 20,000 votes but lost the election.
He had spearheaded the party’s campaign in Uttar Pradesh. The Congress secured 28 of 403 seats in the assembly.