Congress to go for revamp after disappointing poll results

New Delhi: The assembly election results in Jharkhand Tuesday came as a blow to the Congress though the tally was not as disappointing in Jammu and Kashmir. Congress leaders said they will go for organisational revamp in the coming weeks to resurrect the party's electoral fortunes.

In Jharkhand, the Congress went down from 14 seats in 2009 to six this time, while in Jammu and Kashmir, the party's tally declined from 17 to 12. The Congress' graph has been on the decline since the Lok Sabha elections this year when Bharatiya Janata Party leader Narendra Modi led the party to an emphatic victory and replaced the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government.

The worrying aspect for the Congress is that it has not even finished runners-up to the BJP in the four states where assembly polls were held in the past four months. The Congress finished third or fourth in the assembly polls in Haryana, Maharahstra, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir.

Party leaders Tuesday conceded that there was a need to get their act together. "We need to go to the drawing board and get out act together," a party leader said. Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar said that while the BJP should be credited for victory in Jharkhand, its performance had come down from the Lok Sabha polls.

"The results in Jammu and Kashmir are better than what the opinion polls said. But we are disappointed with Jharkhand," he said. "It's time to go to the grassroots level and rebuild our support base in Jharkhand. "We failed in bringing non-BJP parties together. There are a large number of people who are not in favour of BJP," he said.

Political commentator and journalist S. Nihal Singh said the Congress had performed in the election as per expectations. He said the party was facing a leadership crisis. "There is nothing much to write home about (for the Congress peformance). The Congress faces existential dilemma. Without the first family, it will splinter. They need a coherent leadership. It will not come through Rahul Gandhi," he said.

A.S. Narang, who teaches political science at the Indira Gandhi National Open University, said the Congress should work for collective leadership. "Rahul Gandhi should be one of the leaders," he said. He said the Congress has not showed futuristic vision and has to strengthen its organisational base.

The results are also expected to raise voices within the party for Rahul Gandhi to step up his role as party vice president. Party sources said organisational revamp could take place over the next few weeks.

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