File Photo - Jitender Gupta
Rahul Not Responsible for Cong Defeat in LS Polls: Antony

Rejecting criticism about Rahul Gandhi's leadership, Congress leader A K Antony today said he was not responsible for the party's Lok Sabha poll debacle and exuded optimism that it will revive under Sonia Gandhi and Rahul.

Antony, who headed a committee that probed the reasons for the party's poll debacle and submitted its report to Sonia Gandhi yesterday, dismissed reports that there was a question mark on the leadership of Rahul after the elections and that the committee has suggested something like that.

"This is all speculation. Nothing. Absolutely wrong.Those who are spreading this kind of rumours want to weaken the party...Such things are being spread by mischievous people, who want to to weaken the party," he told reporters on the sidelines of the flag hoisting ceremony at AICC headquarters.

Antony said the "reasons for the Congress defeat were something else".

However, he did not elaborate as to what conclusions the panel has arrived at for the worst-ever defeat of Congress in the 2014 general elections.

Sonia and Rahul did not take questions from the media and left after wishing 'Happy Independence Day' to all.

Antony insisted that it was Sonia Gandhi and Rahul, who toured throughout the country and addressed rallies in the run-up to the polls.

At the outset, he said the panel chaired by him submitted the report to Sonia yesterday but refused to divulge details.

All the four members of the panel Antony, Mukul Wasnik, RC Khuntia and Avinash Pandey had met the Congress President and submitted the voluminous report.

"I do not want to go into details. I will not reveal the details...I do not want to say anything about the content of the report," was his brief response to questions like whether his panel has faulted the communication strategy of the party or blamed the way media reported during Lok Sabha polls.

"We are confident, Just as we did in 1977, we will overcome this difficult phase as well. Congress will overcome this. We will be able to regain the loss, strengthen our party, strengthen our mass base again. We will revive under leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul," Antony said.

Asked about murmurs of dissent within the party over leadership, the party veteran, who had proposed anointment of Rahul as Vice President during Congress Chintan Shivir in Jaipur last year, said such leaders should instead do something to ensure that the party regains lost ground.

"They must do something to regain the ground. That we are confident of... We are 100 per cent confident of regaining lost ground," he said.

Apart from giving a condensed over-all report on the Congress' poor show nationwide, the report has also focused on specific states incorporating discussions held with their leaders on the reasons for the defeat and the recommendations of the panel, sources said.

With the Assembly polls in four states approaching, the report would help the leadership take remedial steps at the earliest to stem the rot.

Antony said during discussions with leaders from various states, it came out out that only Sonia and Rahul campaigned. The veteran leader suggested that the party did not work at other levels as strongly as was required.

Asked whether there will be changes in the party set up since he has already submitted the report citing reasons for the defeat, Antony said this is for the Congress President to decide.

On speculation of a larger role for Priyanka Gandhi in the party, Antony said, "There is already a clarification from Priyankaji. I will not add anything."

Priyanka had last week dismissed speculation surrounding her as "conjecture" and "baseless rumours".

Sources indicated that instead of being critical of the leadership, the report talks about the alleged "manipulation of media coverage by the BJP, the lacunae in Congress campaign vis-a-vis the blitzkrieg of Narendra Modi's election campaign and organisational weaknesses" of the party.

Antony downplayed his earlier remarks that proximity to minority communities had led people to doubt the party's secularism, saying it was "Kerala specific" remark made in a particular speech in a context.

Party general secretary Mukul Wasnik said the panel talked to around 500 leaders from various states before finalising its report after a comprehensive discussion.

He said nobody raised questions about the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul.

The four-member panel was set up a fortnight after the results were out on May 16, which had come as a huge shock for the party.

The panel had begun the review exercise in June starting from Delhi, where all its seven Lok Sabha candidates including Union Ministers Kapil Sibal, Ajay Maken and Krishna Tirath had lost the polls.

The panel had also met the PCC chiefs, CLP leaders and other party functionaries from various states during the exercise.

The Congress had got its lowest tally of 44 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha in the general elections held in April-May this year.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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Digression

8/D-68
Sep 02, 2014
01:55 PM
It is surprising to read again and again the fact/ reason finding effort by Congress for the loss in this election. Though directed at Rahul Gandhi, one can assure that no one would have won this election, at the nth minute. The Congress/ UPA government started decimating itself right from 2012, which accelerated into a no-return situation at the start of 2014. Some of it could have been saved but most of it was lost much earlier. The reasons are several but few to be noted: economy, corporate and media.  The presence of governance came to be at nil and Dr Manmohan Singh's silence exacerbated it. It was unusual and stupefying to understand this abhorrence for communication but this contributed a great deal for the exasperation of even the staunchest of the supporters. Economy slowed down on global and man-made so called policy paralysis, also complicated by previous point. Gentrification- It was unusual for the ruling party to become victim of its own creation as it failed to follow up and understand the lifestyle cycle. it had failed to communicate economic and business cycle (ruined largely by Dr Manmohan and his team by high interest rate and continual criticism of fiscal deficit program of their own government). Gentrification infuses a lifestyle changes with community, religion, and other identity rise and a party must be able to communicate and address this group. Unconsciously undermining the burgeoning middle 'middle' class. The party largely ignored the burgeoning middle 'middle' class and no point in stating that they voted not in favour Demography: The party should have identified that a large section of young voters will be joining the milieu and 'Catch them Young" has always been the theme of the other party Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets

The French complain of everything and always - The middle class complains and complains about everything, corruption, inflation, road, rail and others...no effort was seen in addressing this. again goes to poor media management

Civil society surge- the civil society that was fended earlier with a socialist program agenda started feeding itself seeing the space available.

Large scale campaigning with think tanks and others- Understandably, gentrification and economic boom resulted in a class which can fend itself without a job and had enough time for social cause. besides, the think tank groups and a sustained multi-layered campaign was too much for the traditional show.

One must change tactics every ten years if one wishes to maintain one’s superiority - It was a decade and the tactics had to change/

Coalition=Frenemies

To say that the party lost only owing to its campaigning is too naïve. and to place it on one person again is entirely naïve. The only naivety or error in the campaigning was the interview to Times Now.
Diogenes, delhi
7/D-67
Sep 02, 2014
01:55 PM
It is surprising to read again and again the fact/ reason finding effort by Congress for the loss in this election. Though directed at Rahul Gandhi, one can assure that no one would have won this election, at the nth minute. The Congress/ UPA government started decimating itself right from 2012, which accelerated into a no-return situation at the start of 2014. Some of it could have been saved but most of it was lost much earlier. The reasons are several but few to be noted: economy, corporate and media.  The presence of governance came to be at nil and Dr Manmohan Singh's silence exacerbated it. It was unusual and stupefying to understand this abhorrence for communication but this contributed a great deal for the exasperation of even the staunchest of the supporters. Economy slowed down on global and man-made so called policy paralysis, also complicated by previous point. Gentrification- It was unusual for the ruling party to become victim of its own creation as it failed to follow up and understand the lifestyle cycle. it had failed to communicate economic and business cycle (ruined largely by Dr Manmohan and his team by high interest rate and continual criticism of fiscal deficit program of their own government). Gentrification infuses a lifestyle changes with community, religion, and other identity rise and a party must be able to communicate and address this group. Unconsciously undermining the burgeoning middle 'middle' class. The party largely ignored the burgeoning middle 'middle' class and no point in stating that they voted not in favour Demography: The party should have identified that a large section of young voters will be joining the milieu and 'Catch them Young" has always been the theme of the other party Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets

The French complain of everything and always - The middle class complains and complains about everything, corruption, inflation, road, rail and others...no effort was seen in addressing this. again goes to poor media management

Civil society surge- the civil society that was fended earlier with a socialist program agenda started feeding itself seeing the space available.

Large scale campaigning with think tanks and others- Understandably, gentrification and economic boom resulted in a class which can fend itself without a job and had enough time for social cause. besides, the think tank groups and a sustained multi-layered campaign was too much for the traditional show.

One must change tactics every ten years if one wishes to maintain one’s superiority - It was a decade and the tactics had to change/

Coalition=Frenemies

To say that the party lost only owing to its campaigning is too naïve. and to place it on one person again is entirely naïve. The only naivety or error in the campaigning was the interview to Times Now.
Diogenes, delhi
6/D-33
Aug 17, 2014
03:50 AM

Anthony is right. It is Modi who is responsible for poor show of Congress. And in the next election, Congress will get single digits.

george, london
5/D-145
Aug 16, 2014
11:32 PM

Now they say, it is media.  Arnab and Ms. Ghose, Rajdeep etc. can't win for losing. 

P.B. Joshipura, Suffolk, Virginia
4/D-135
Aug 16, 2014
10:06 PM

Sonia puts a fellow Catholic Antony as the head of the committee,and so how he can find  anything wrong with Rahul.A Hindu scapegoat will be sacrifised.

S.S.Nagaraj, Bangalore
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