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Antony panel to look into poll debacle in Punjab, Goa

Delhi,Politics, Sat, 07 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) After a review of its performance in Uttar Pradesh by party general secretary Rahul Gandhi, the Congress has formed a panel headed by Defence Minister A.K. Antony to go into the causes of the party's defeat in Punjab and Goa and its lackadaisical performance in Uttarakhand where it failed to get a majority on its own.


The review committee, which includes Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit and Union Minister Sushilkumar Shinde as members, will give its report to party president Sonia Gandhi.


Party sources said the committee has been formed to identify shortcomings in the recent polls in four of five states that had gone for assembly elections and improve the party's prospects for the 2014 parliamentary elections.


The committee has already met leaders from Punjab and Uttarakhand. It is also expected to meet senior leaders from Uttar Pradesh in the next few days. The Congress won the assembly polls in Manipur.


The sources said the open blame-game by senior leaders in Punjab following the party's defeat had made it difficult to carry out an honest introspection and was hurting the party's interests in the state. The sources said the Antony committee is likely to prevail upon factions in the state supporting state unit chief Capt Amarinder Singh and those opposed to him not to indulge in infighting.


Antony, who has vast organisational experience, had headed the committee constituted by party president Sonia Gandhi to go into the causes of the party's debacle in the 1999 Lok Sabha elections.


Rahul Gandhi had held detailed discussions with leaders and candidates from Uttar Pradesh Thursday and Friday to identify the reasons for the party's poor performance and initiate corrective steps.


Rahul Gandhi had spoken at the meeting about organisational changes and had received suggestions to revamp the state unit in terms of zones for better results and greater accountability.


Warning against indiscipline, Gandhi stated that he was not the one to get defeated and had promised to strengthen the party in the state.


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