The committee headed by Defence Minister AK Antony to study the Congress' recent poll debacle in five states has submitted its report to party president Sonia Gandhi. The report has recommended that tickets should not be awarded to relatives of leaders for contesting polls. It has also called for action against those responsible for the poll defeat, sources have told NDTV.
The report, prepared by an informal three-member panel led by Mr Antony - that also includes Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit - was meant to review the Congress' poor electoral showing in the Assembly polls earlier this year and to analyse the reasons behind it.
In an acknowledgment of a glaring disconnect between party leaders and grassroots-level workers, the panel has, in its report, strongly advocated the need for chiefs of state party units, Congress Legislature Party leaders and Chief Ministers to be accessible to party cadres. This was highlighted as one of the primary reasons for the Congress' poor performance in state elections, especially Uttar Pradesh. Despite a high-decibel campaign by Rahul Gandhi, the party delivered a dismal result in the state. It also handed over an easy win to the Bharatiya Janata Party in Goa as it battled allegations of corruption over the mining scam. The results in Punjab, too, were a surprise as the Shiromani Akali Dal government successfully beat the anti-incumbency factor to push aside the Congress for a second consecutive term.
The report has also outlined the need for discipline to be instilled in the party and ensuring compliance among leaders and workers alike. No individuals, though, have been mentioned in the report, according to sources. Putting in place a panel to use social media is also another recommendation that the report has made, sources have added.
The setting up of the committee by Mrs Gandhi was seen as the party wanting to set its house in order by drawing on lessons from this year's Assembly polls to make the party battle ready for Lok Sabha elections 2014.