New Delhi: Reflecting the growing unease and concern within the Congress after its election defeat, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were today urged to don the role of 'surgeons' to put the organisation back on the path of recovery.

Senior leader who heads the party group in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said wherever there are shortcomings the party should go into it and remove them.

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi
Sonia and Rahul Gandhi

Congress rivals and former Congress rebels who have now joined hands with BJP gunned for Rahul and said no surgery could save Congress because it was afflicted with the 'cancer of corruption'.

At the AICC briefing, party spokesman P C Chacko said the party had given freedom to state units to decide on poll strategies. "We are not saying the national leadership is not responsible," he said.

A day after his remarks about the need for surgery in the Congress created flutters, senior leader Digvijay Singh said the surgeons are Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and they should "take action forthwith" to set right matters in the party.

In a bid to shield the leadership from any attack in the wake of crushing defeat in Assam and other states, he said, "Everyone is accountable and responsible for victory or defeat, no one individual." He made it clear that Sonia and Rahul cannot be blamed for the electoral debacle.

Apparently referring to the aftermath of the Lok Sabha debacle, Singh said discussions and introspection have taken place and was now time for taking action.

"The surgeon does surgery and not we people. The surgeon is the Congress president. It is she and Rahul Gandhi who have to decide what action needs to be taken," he said.

Singh called for 'fresh ideas and fresh functioning style' to revive the party.

Asked to explain his pitch for a 'major surgery', Singh said a number of reports to improve the state of affairs in the party were submitted to the leadership and it's time to implement those suggestions. He recalled that after the 2014 general elections, a committee headed by A K Antony was set up to look into the issue (of Congress defeat). After discussions with leaders from states, it submitted a report.

"After that Rahul Gandhi discussed with every senior Congress man, who has been influential in the Congress party in past and present. After that he asked party general secretaries to discuss with state leaders," Singh recalled saying that the general secretaries submitted a report on the suggestions received to Sonia Gandhi way back on February 28 last year.

Kharge said, "Wherever there are shortcomings in Congress, work needs to be done. What has gone wrong and where, we will have to see on how to remove them (shortcomings). We will surely remove them. If there are any shortcomings, they (leaders) are ready to rectify them."