Knives out in Cong after defeat, others join Sheila, Pawar to target Centre
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At a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi Monday, the Manmohan Singh government had come under indirect attack from party general secretaries in charge of these states, all of whom cited "price-rise" as one of the major factors for the loss of people's trust in the party.
A day earlier, Sonia herself had cited price-rise as a factor. She asked the general secretaries "not to get demoralised" and rather focus on the Lok Sabha elections, saying she would hold further discussions after her return from South Africa.
A senior party leader and Union minister Tuesday emphasized the need for the party to declare its prime ministerial candidate well in advance.
"Only then the people will hear what we say. It could be Rahul Gandhi or anybody else, but he has to be a match for Modi in communication skill," he said. The leader, however, added that the party is unlikely to declare the PM candidate as was evident from the fact that Sonia had stated that he would be declared at an "opportune time".
Daggers were also drawn in Delhi with leaders complaining about what they said was Sheila Dikshit seeking to marginalise the party and run a "self-centred" poll campaign. They alleged she did not want central leaders, including the PM, to campaign due to the UPA government's battered image. Besides, she sought to highlight regularising unauthorised colonies, flyovers and the metro as achievements even though they had been publicised in earlier polls, they said.
"The entire poll campaign was being run from the chief minister's residence with no involvement of the DPCC. All tickets were given, including those to tainted MLAs, at the CM's behest," said a senior Delhi Congress leader, adding that the DPCC had recommended dropping 20 sitting MLAs but the CM did not agree. He said the state unit had flagged off the rising graph of the Aam Aadmi Party but it was ignored.