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Home / Politics / Policy /  Sonia Gandhi urges Congress ‘introspection’ after assembly election debacle

New Delhi:

New Delhi: Stunned by the drubbing in assembly polls, top leadership of the Congress on Sunday pledged “deep introspection" with a view to “transform" the party to rectify its mistakes ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Stating that the party was “very very disappointed" with the results, its president Sonia Gandhi, however, suggested that this outcome would have no bearing on the Lok Sabha polls since “general elections are quite different".

“We will introspect seriously and we will take all necessary actions to rectify our mistakes or our way of functioning," she told reporters at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi soon after it became clear that the Congress had done badly in the current round of assembly polls.

Asked whether the Congress party would name its prime ministerial candidate against BJP’s Narendra Modi, Gandhi said “people need not worry as, at an opportune time, the name of the prime ministerial candidate" will be announced.

Initially, she appeared reluctant to give an answer when asked whether Rahul Gandhi would be named as the prime ministerial candidate. “We will make a statement. The party has to decide. The party will decide at the opportune time," she said.

Appearing before the media along with his mother, party vice president Rahul Gandhi said Congress has to transform itself to stand up. “We have to move to a new paradigm and give serious space to the common masses," he said. He said through the elections, “people have given us a message, which we have heard."

Asked whether these results would have a bearing on the next Lok Sabha polls, Sonia Gandhi said: “General elections are quite different. People in state elections do focus on personality at the state level, at leaders who are likely to lead them." However, in national elections “people look at the person who is likely to guide them and govern them at the national level. The issues will be slightly different because at the state level, the issues are localized. At the national level, there are national issues," said the Congress chief.

“It goes without saying that we are very very disappointed at the results but we accept the verdict of the people with all humility. We congratulate our opponents for winning the elections," she said.

“We have to look into the way we took or did not take our message to the people and also we have to look at the way our own party is equipped or not so equipped in running an election," said Sonia Gandhi.

Briefly analyzing the causes of the drubbing, she said, “Of course, there will be a number of reasons for these defeats. I know many were complaining, people were unhappy. Otherwise, they would not have given such a result." Listing some of the reasons, she said, “Perhaps, price rise was also an issue. It was affecting people."

Asked about the spectacular performance of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi, Rahul Gandhi said both the major parties, Congress and BJP, had thought about politics in a traditional way. “I think, we need to consider thinking in terms of empowering the people which I have been saying within the party. I’m going to make this a central issue," said the Congress vice president.

Maintaining that he would learn from the success of AAP, Rahul Gandhi said the new party involved lot of people which traditional parties do not do. “We are going to involve them (people) in a way you can’t imagine," he said.

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