A day before a Congress post-mortem on its national election defeat that may see Rahul Gandhi offering to resign, one leader has given a very critical assessment of the party's performance. "Without question the Congress has not been able to feel the pulse of the nation," said Gaurav Gogoi, who is in the slim group of Congress candidates who won.
"People have expressed their verdict very clearly, that people want the BJP government to come back and take power for the second term. Hats off to the BJP and best wishes," said Gaurav Gogoi.
He added: "Now that the elections are over, the bitterness of the campaign over, the focus should be on issues that India faces today - banking, companies under stress, rural distress..."
Across the country, the Congress won just 52 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats. In the northeast, the polls were a total washout for the Congress. Gaurav Gogoi was among the Congress candidates able to defy the trend of a BJP surge in Assam and win from the Kaliobor constituency. Even in 2014, the son of former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi was able to win.
"We won Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh just a few months ago. A few months before that we had formed a government in Karnataka in alliance with the Janata Dal Secular. We had only won bypolls in Madhya Pradesh and had done exceedingly well in Gujarat and other states," Mr Gogoi told NDTV.
"Despite that we saw people in 2019 had very different perspective in the states where we romped back to power. Despite our best intentions, solid campaign, issue-based strategy, a very dignified response from Rahul Gandhi to personal attacks...The party still failed to feel the pulse of the nation. That's what we need to discuss tomorrow and take lessons from the verdict," he said.
Rahul Gandhi, who has led the Congress to its second straight landslide defeat, is expected to offer his resignation tomorrow at the Congress Working Committee meeting.
Many other resignations poured in on Friday. Among them was one from Congress's Uttar Pradesh in-charge Raj Babbar.
Rahul Gandhi, who failed to retain even the family constituency of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, is set to be the main agenda of the meeting, say several Congress leaders.
On Thursday, Mr Gandhi said he took "100 per cent responsibility" for the defeat. Asked whether he would quit, he said: "Let that be between the Working Committee and me."
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