- POSTED: 10 Dec 2013 18:52
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India's Congress party is in a reflective mood after its four losses in the recent state assembly elections as general elections draw near.
NEW DELHI: India's Congress party is in a reflective mood after its four losses in the recent state assembly elections.
It has called for a meeting to take stock and strategise, with just a few months left till general elections.
Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi lost no time in calling all senior party members for a brainstorming session in New Delhi on Monday.
On the agenda -- stock-taking as to what went wrong in the assembly elections, and why the Congress party lost in all four states.
The four states together send 72 members to the lower House of Parliament, and if this trend continues into the 2014 general elections, Congress is set to face a huge loss.
"Obviously, people are unhappy, otherwise they wouldn't have given such results. But perhaps the price rise also was an issue that was affecting people," said Gandhi.
The grand old party has to grapple with the fact that there is a huge anti-Congress sentiment in central India.
Despite Gandhi scion and Congress Vice President Rahul campaigning long and hard in the region, the party faced a complete rout.
Rahul's youth and his promise of secular government was no match for the right wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which projected a decisive and strong leader, Narendra Modi, as a candidate for Prime Minister in 2014.
Congress did not name Rahul as a PM candidate, nor did it bring out incumbent Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to campaign for the party.
However, Rahul was gracious in defeat, and vowed that Congress would transform itself.
"Congress has the ability to transform itself. The Congress party has the ability to stand up to the expectations of the people of this country and the Congress party is going to do that,” he said.
“The Congress party, myself and the Congress president would like to congratulate our opponents who have won the elections."
Some analysts point out that the way people voted in the four states is not necessarily how the rest of India will vote in 2014.
Many local issues came into play in the assembly elections, which might not hold true in next year's general election.
However, it is a wake-up call for the 125-year-old party to get its act together.
The principal beneficiary of an anti-Congress wave, if there is indeed one, will be the BJP.
The party has been in the opposition for two terms and is anxious to return to power but it will not be an easy task to replicate the assembly elections victories in the general elections, especially if Congress can come up with a strong game plan for 2014.