The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fault lies with party, not prince
- Family pinpoints cause of UP debacle, Sonia nudges Centre on communal bill

New Delhi, May 16: Rahul Gandhi and others put in place the goodwill but the party organisation could not convert it into votes, the Congress high command has concluded.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul have blamed the party organisation — or lack of it — for the poor show in the Uttar Pradesh elections.

Rahul, whose roadshows drew eyeballs but not votes, told reporters outside Parliament: “Basically what happened is that we don’t have an organisation there and we have to build that. It is a process that we are going to work at.”

He said he would return to Uttar Pradesh and carry on his “fight”. Rahul did not forget to congratulate Mayavati for her “stunning” performance.

The Congress MP was expected to leave for China as part of a parliamentary delegation but it appeared he would call off the visit and return to the heartland.

In her first formal comments on the Uttar Pradesh elections, Sonia, too, admitted that “our performance has been very disappointing”.

Addressing the Congress parliamentary party this morning, she said: “We mounted a spirited campaign throughout which we witnessed a great deal of goodwill and support towards our party. But organisationally, we were not able to transform that goodwill into votes.”

A copy of her speech quoted Sonia as saying that the Congress faced a “stupendous” challenge that it would face with “hard work and determination”.

However, Sonia made it a point to “acknowledge the dedication and hard work put in by each and every party member at all levels”.

Sonia expressed satisfaction at the defeat of the BJP and the Samajwadi Party. But she warned her party that it would have to brace itself for a fight against the BJP in the upcoming Goa and Gujarat elections.

The Congress president referred to the fake encounters and the attack on an art student in Gujarat.

Without taking names, she said: “It is apparent that these sections enjoy high-level patronage. This reflects utter and deliberate contempt for the rule of law to promote ideological prejudices. This also reflects the blatantly partisan attitude of the state government where an issue of human rights has been given a communal colour.”

Gujarat message

Sonia reminded the Centre that it should take “serious note of these dangerous trends”. The government has been sitting on the bill against communal violence. The budget session has almost passed without any mention of the bill.

“Attacks and atrocities on religious minorities in the BJP-ruled states have continued unabated. Our party organisation in these states has exposed the communal designs of the BJP but I do feel that the central government should take serious note of these dangerous trends. This kind of extreme intolerance goes against the very spirit of our democracy,” Sonia said.

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