CWC meeting Monday to discuss Congress’ worst poll performance

New Delhi: The Congress Working Committee (CWC) will meet Monday to take stock of the party’s worst Lok Sabha performance and chart the road ahead amid suggestions that it should fortify ideological moorings of party workers in the wake of the BJP’s rise.

There is also speculation that party president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi may offer to resign at the meeting but some party leaders denied such a possibility.

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The CWC, the party’s highest decision-making body, will discuss the reasons for the Congress’ debacle where it could not even reach 50-seat mark, scored zero in several states and failed to reach double digits in any.

“The CWC will discuss what went wrong. What were reasons for securing less number of seats? We will try course correction and what is the way ahead,” said party general secretary Shakeel Ahmed.

He said Congress was over an 120-year-old party which had seen many ups and downs and will stage a comeback.

The CWC meeting will introspect and seek to identify the shortcomings, he said.

“(It will discuss) measures we should take to come back forcefully,” Ahmed said.

Asked if Gandhis would offer to resign, he said any such offer will be rejected.

“I don’t want to comment on speculative news but hypothetically what you are asking will be rejected outrightly,” Ahmed said.

Both had Friday taken responsibility for the party’s worst drubbing in a national election.

Asked if general secretaries, who were in charge of states which had done badly will resign, Ahmed said he could not predict the course of discussions.

“I do not want to speculate what will happen in CWC,” he said, adding that the party had said even before results that “achievements will be collective and shortcomings will be collective”.

Another party leader, who did not want to be named, said that the decision to resign or not depends on general secretaries individually.

He also rejected the possibility of Gandhis offering to resign.

“Why should they resign,” he said, adding that the party worked under a system of delegated responsibility and failure to win elections cannot be attributed to the top leader directly.

A third party leader, who also did not want to be identified, however, said that there was possibility of Gandhis offering to resign as workers were unhappy over the way events have panned out.

“I think he (Rahul Gandhi) will and Madam (Sonia Gandhi) will (offer to resign),” the party leader told IANS.

Party leaders said there was expected to be some plainspeaking at the CWC meet with the members expected to touch on issues that need course correction. They said the public discontent with Manmohan Singh government on issues such as price rise are expected to be touched upon.

Defeat of several union ministers indicates that there was anger against the government, he said.

Some leaders said that there was need to strengthen the party’s ideological moorings at the grassroots in the wake of Bharatiya Janata Party expanding its base and getting absolute majority in the Lok Sabha for the first time.

The defeat of Congress in the election came at the hands of Narendra Modi, the BJP leader most unpalatable to the party.

Party leaders maintain that that BJP had created “polarisation” during the election and there was need to counter it effectively by making party workers more active in spreading party’s ideology.

The Congress won only 44 seats in the Lok Sabha election against 282 won by the BJP.