Stunned by the drubbing in assembly polls, top leadership of the Congress today pledged "deep introspection" with a view to "transform" the party to rectify its mistakes ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Stating that the party was "very very disappointed" with the results, its President Sonia Gandhi, however, suggested that this outcome would have no bearing on the Lok Sabha polls since "general elections are quite different".
Full transcript of Sonia Gandhi's interview to reporters:
Very disappointed with the results but we accept the verdict of the people with all humility.
We congratulate our opponents for winning the elections. I think we are still rather hopeful for Chhattisgarh but we don't know just yet. I would also like to thank all our workers because, not only at the state level but also from other states, they participate in the campaign and they worked very hard everywhere during this campaign.
Naturally this result calls for deep introspection. We have to understand, to look at the many reasons for this defeat. We have to look into the way we took or did not take well enough our message to the people and also we have to look at the way our own party is equipped or not so well equipped in running an election.
Of course there will a number of reasons for this defeat. I know that many were complaining--people were, I mean, obviously people are unhappy, otherwise they wouldn't have given such results. But perhaps price-rise was also was an issue that was affecting people.
I mean in states like Rajasthan, I thought, we all thought that our chief minister had run some very very good programmes, so there again, it's a question mark. But 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 introspect seriously and we will take all necessary actions to rectify our mistakes, our way of functioning.
General elections are quite different. People in state elections, they focus on the personality at a state level , on the leader who is likely to lead and govern at the state level. For a national election, people look at the person who is likely to guide and govern them at a national level. The issues will be slightly different because at the state level issues are localised. At the national level, there are national issues.
People need not worry. The party will decide at the opportune time. At the opportune moment, the prime ministerial candidate, the name of him will be announced.
Her remarks about the Congress prime ministerial candidate seems to have generated speculation on whether her son and party Vice President Rahul Gandhi would be named for the top job. Her use of the word "him" triggered speculation whether she was referring to Rahul.
Another theory doing the rounds was that it signified that it would be a male candidate and not a woman.
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