Debacle discussed during Congress chief’s city visit
MUMBAI : The Congress party’s central leadership took stock of its rout in the Palghar Lok Sabha (LS) bypoll and the legislative council biennial elections held last month during party president Rahul Gandhi’s two-day tour to the city.
Ashok Gehlot accompanied Rahul Gandhi during his twoday visit to Maharashtra. He held the meeting with the state leadership on the poll debacle at MCA Club in Bandra-kurla Complex on June 12. The leaders said that the top leadership of the party may fix the responsibility on the state leaders who were in-charge of these elections because the party could not even secure votes of its own councillors.
A state leader privy to the development said, “The All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in-charge of the organisation - Ashok Gehlot, had a meeting with the state leaders to take a stock of the results of the recent elections. The debacle in the elections have been taken very seriously.”
The leader said, “In Amaravati, our senior leaders Manikrao Thakre, Yashomati Thakur and Virendra Jagtap were leading the campaign, while in Parbhani-hingoli, former minister of state DP Sawant was in-charge. They could not even ensure to keep the party councillors together from shifting their loyalties to the ruling party.”
A section of state leaders feel that the party should not even have fielded its candidate in the prestigious Palghar bypoll. Congress had fielded its former Member of Parliament- Damodar Shingda and was decimated to fifth position.
“In Palghar, a section of the leaders were of the opinion that like the two earlier LS elections, the party should have back BVA candidate. But the leadership decided to contest it,” the leader said.
Congress did not win a single
seat in the three of the six seats of the legislative council seats from the self-government constituencies last month, while in two constituencies it could not even garner the votes of its own corporators.
In Amaravati, where the party has 128 corporators, its candidate got only 17 votes, while in Parbhani-hingoli, the Congress-nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alliance secured 297 votes, against which its candidate former Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Suresh Deshmukh, polled only 221 votes. In Wardha- Chandrapurgadchiroli constituency, though the alliance lost the seat to the BJP despite cross-voting. Its candidate Indrakumar Saraf received 462 votes against its strength of 339 corporators in the local bodies.
Thakre said, “The legislative council elections are fought in an entirely different environment these days. We could not find a capable candidate. The one we fielded was not willing to contest it. The defeat was unfortunate and we have apprised the state leadership about the reasons.” Ashok Chavan said that a report related to the party defeat will be sent to the central leadership. “We discussed the rout with Gehlotji and a detailed report will be sent.”