The Indian National Congress suffered its worst defeat in the general elections this year, in which it managed to scrape through with a meager 44 seats. And on Saturday, a review panel headed by former Defence Minister AK Antony will analyze what went wrong for the party, starting with the Capital.
The Congress heavyweights who lost in the elections, including Kapil Sibal and Ajay Maken, will be summoned for feedback over their defeat. All the seven party candidates suffered defeat in Delhi.
All India Congress Committee's general secretary Mukul Wasnik will also join Antony in reviewing the party's performance, according to the Press Trust of India. After Delhi, the panel is expected to meet with party functionaries from other states as well.
Reports suggested that Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi herself called for the review and is set to bring about organizational changes. Talks of replacing the party's chief ministers in various states has already been underway, with Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gagoi and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda also summoned to the Capital on Saturday.
Even as the internal review begins on Saturday, we look at the headline-grabbing points from among the barrage of ignominy the national party faced after its poll debacle:
"Regional Party" – The Indian National Congress scored seats in the range of regional parties such as the AIADMK, which won 37 seats in Tamil Nadu alone, and the All India Trinamool Congress, which won 34 seats in West Bengal. During the Parliamentary session last week, BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy even belittled the national party, calling it a "regional party".
Not enough strength to be Leader of Opposition – With a strength of 44 members in the 543-strong Lok Sabha, the Congress does not have even 10 percent of the total strength of the house, which as per tradition, may be hurdle for it to become the leader of Opposition. While Gandhi had reportedly written to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to make Congress the Leader of Opposition, the latter is yet to decide on the matter, and there are speculations that the BJP-government would work without a leader of opposition.
No seats in ten states – Such was the party's routing that it failed to win even a single seat in ten crucial states, such as Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Jharkahand, as reported by Zee News.
Blaming Rahul Gandhi – The 44-year-old Gandhi scion, who was projected as the party's face for the entire duration of election campaigning across the country had to face flak not just from outside but from party members as well. Several party members, including Milind Deora and Kerala Minister TH Mustafa, blamed Gandhi and his team for the failure of the party. While Deora said that Gandhi was not guided correctly by his advisors, the Kerala minister was sacked for calling the Congress vice-president a "joker".