On March 15, Congress party president Sonia Gandhi asked the Pradesh Congress Committee chiefs of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa to hand in their resignations following their “abject loss” in the recently concluded state assembly elections. The decision came two days after the Congress Working Committee (CWC) brainstorming meeting to discuss the party’s “poll debacle” in the recent elections in which the Congress failed to win any of the states, and lost Punjab to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
The members asked to resign from their posts are Navjot Singh Sidhu (Punjab), Kumar Lallu (UP), Ganesh Godiyal (Uttrakhand), Girish Chodankar (Goa) and N Loken Singh (Manipur).
Additionally, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal’s criticism of the Gandhis’ leadership also drew backlash. “Leadership is in cuckoo land? I want a ‘Sab ki Congress’… (But) some want a ‘Ghar ki Congress,” he said on Tuesday, in an interview. This came a day after the CWC unanimously reaffirmed its faith in Sonia Gandhi’s leadership. Manickam Tagore, a Lok Sabha MP and “staunch Rahul Gandhi loyalist”, tweeted in response to Sibal’s comments saying that the RSS and BJP want Nehru-Gandhis to be out of leadership so that “it’s easy to kill Congress”, and destroy the idea of India.
As stated by the CWC, the recent electoral outcome was a serious cause for concern and highlighted grave shortcomings in the party’s strategy. During the marathon meeting, the members also said that Sonia Gandhi could not be held responsible for the loss in the five states. The committee asked the Congress president “to lead from the front, address the organisational weaknesses, effect necessary and comprehensive organisational changes in order to take on the political challenges”.