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Sonia for deep ‘introspection’

New Delhi, Dec. 8: Sonia Gandhi today said the results of the Assembly polls had left the party “very, very disappointed” and admitted the need for “deep introspection” but asserted that the focus was different when it came to elections at the national level.

Son Rahul Gandhi said the Congress had the “ability to transform itself”, echoing the party chief’s call to “rectify mistakes”.

Sonia, who spoke to the media on a dismal day for the Congress, said: “It goes without saying that we are very, very disappointed at the results but we accept the verdict of the people with all humility.”

She said the “result calls for deep introspection…. We have to look into the way we took or did not take our message to the people and also we are to look at the way our own party is equipped or not so well equipped in running an election. Of course, there will be a number of reasons for these defeats.”

“Obviously,” she added, “people are unhappy, otherwise we would not have these results. Price rise was also an issue that was affecting the people. In Rajasthan, we all know the chief minister had run very good programmes. So there again, there is a question mark. Even in Delhi, even though we have been in government for three terms, I do believe that a great deal of work was done but obviously the results tell us something else. We will take all necessary actions to rectify our mistakes or our way of functioning.”

She also said general elections were “quite different”. “People in state elections focus on the personality at the state level and the leader who is likely to lead them. For a national election, the people look at the person who is likely to guide them and govern them at the national level.”

Responding to a question on whether the Congress would announce the name of its prime ministerial candidate as the BJP has done, she said the party would “decide at the opportune time”.

Rahul, who appeared before the media along with his mother, said the people had “given us a message and we have heard this message not only with our minds but our hearts” too.

“The Congress has the ability to transform itself…. We work for the people of this country and it is our duty to listen to them. That is what we are supposed to do and I want to tell you that we have heard what you have said and we are going to do whatever we can do as individuals and as a party to live up to your expectations.”

The Congress vice-president said what the party needed to do was give “serious space to the common man” in its structures.

“Political parties today are not giving adequate voice to the man on the street and it is our job as an institution of the voice of people to do that,” he said.

“I fundamentally believe that I am going to put all my efforts in transforming the organisation together with the leaders and give you an organisation that you can be proud of and give you an organisation that has your voice embedded inside it.”

He said both the major parties, particularly in Delhi, had been thinking about politics in a “traditional” way. “I think we need to start thinking about politics of empowerment of people. I have been saying this inside the Congress party. I am going to do it now very aggressively.”