Sonia lauds Rahul, says indiscipline to blame for debacles

Written by Nistula Hebbar | Nistula Hebbar | New Delhi | Updated: May 10 2012, 09:26am hrs
The Antony committee report on the Congress recent electoral debacles may have pointed fingers at an unabashedly communal and casteist campaign, especially in Uttar Pradesh, but Sonia Gandhi told partymen that lack of discipline and team work had done the party in.

At the Congress' parliamentary party meeting, party president Sonia Gandhi said leaders must shed factional behaviour and fight as one disciplined team as the party braces to face a series of state elections in the coming months.

We must all shed all manner of factional behaviour, and fight as one disciplined team at all levels. That will be the single-most important factor to decide whether we win or lose. People look to us, but we need to show them our commitment and our unity if we are to convert this sentiment into electoral victories, she said.

While we can take satisfaction in the fact that we returned to power in Manipur for the third time and formed the government in Uttarakhand, the results in Punjab and Goa are very disappointing, she said.

In a boost to AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi, she said: In Uttar Pradesh, even though we did not perform as well as we had hoped to, we increased our vote share quite considerably and were seen as a serious player for the first time in 22 years. Of course, there is much work to be done there as in other states.

With this, Gandhi made it clear that any move by any faction of the party to use the Antony committee report as a springboard for a witch hunt within the party would not be encouraged. Signaling that the party would switch to a more positive campaign compared in states like Gujarat, she also asked partymen to project the works of the party-led government at the Centre and expose the hollow claims of opposition-ruled state governments, adding that misgovernance and corruption have been widespread in some of these states as revealed by CAG and Lokayukta reports.

In the backdrop of the standoff between the states and the Centre over NCTC, with UPA ally Mamata Banerjee leading the charge against the government, she said: Trust and cooperation must be the anchor of Centre-state relations.

She noted that there had been a lot of discussion in recent months on Centre-state relations. I would like to reiterate here that we are fully committed to strengthening federalism, which is a key tenet of our party's and UPA's agenda. What better evidence of this can there be than the unprecedented transfers of financial assistance from the Centre to the states these past eight years, Gandhi said.

She said there are Centre-state issues of major national importance - such as fighting terrorism or dealing with left-wing extremism - where the Centre cannot shirk its responsibilty. In such cases, it has been our government's endeavour to work closely with state governments so that our national interest is protected, she said.

Referring to the legislative agenda of the government, she said, It has become fashionable to criticise the government, but added that on our part, we must do all that we can to ensure that the legislative process is not unduly delayed.