The Telegraph
Tuesday , May 27 , 2014
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Congress blames ‘rootless’ leaders

Ranchi, May 26: State Congressmen today reflected on the reasons behind the party’s embarrassing defeat in Jharkhand, launching a veiled attack on the top brass even as it vented ire on some “visiting” leaders.

But, the five-hour-long meeting remained generally peaceful with leaders refraining from any blame game or mudslinging among themselves, contrary to what was feared.

The review meeting held on the premises of the state Assembly was chaired by state Congress president Sukhdeo Bhagat. Ministers Rajendra Prasad Singh and Geetashree Oraon, four of the nine losing candidates Subodh Kant Sahay (Ranchi), Ajay Dubey (Dhanbad), Tilakdhari Singh (Koderma) and Chitrasen Sinku (Singhbhum), among others, were also present.

“Some leaders were of the view that Rahul Gandhi could not respond properly to Narendra Modi’s challenges. Both Sonia and Rahul attended rallies in Jharkhand but could not turn the tide in the party’s favour,” a senior party leader said.

Former Union minister Sahay, who lost his Ranchi seat to BJP’s Ramtahal Choudhary, said the party suffered across the country, including Jharkhand, due to strategic errors.

According to insiders, a few leaders went on to say that Rahul Gandhi appeared to be focusing on the 2019 elections, and not the 2014 polls, which gave voters a negative impression.

Though state leaders were cautious while speaking about party chief Sonia and vice-president Rahul, they were critical of former Union minister Jairam Ramesh’s style of functioning and his interference in the state unit’s day-to-day affairs.

Terming him a “rootless leader”, a party functionary said Ramesh caused serious damage to the party in Jharkhand. “He seldom cared about the advice given by state leaders and dominated communication channels between the state and central leadership,” he alleged.

But, Bhagat rejected suggestions that state leaders held grudges against the central leadership.