De­ba­cle dis­cussed dur­ing Congress chief’s city visit

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTMETRO - Suren­dra P Gan­gan

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.”

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