Antony report on UP debacle sidesteps Rahul

New Delhi: Perception of corruption, price rise, wrong ticket distribution, controversial campaigning and poor organisational structure on the ground were main reasons for party's debacle in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, according to a high-power committee of Congress.

The A K Antony Committee, which went into the electoral defeat of the party in the UP elections, is understood to have completed its findings.

The report will be given a final shape tomorrow after which it could be submitted to Congress President Sonia Gandhi either tomorrow itself or shortly thereafter, sources said.

The Committee, has, however, avoided any critical assessment of Rahul Gandhi's role, who had undertaken a vigorous campaign in UP in order to rebuild the party.

The party was hopeful of a repeat good showing of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections in UP, where it had won 22 seats.

Rahul during a campaign in Aligarh. PTI

The three-member committee also had Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit and Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde as members. It had the mandate to look into the causes of the Congress rout in Goa, the shock defeat in Punjab and the performance in Uttarakhand.

The Congress' campaign in UP was marred by controversies including the one related to Law Minister Salman Khurshid's remarks on OBC Muslim quota that led to a war of words between him and the Election Commission.

The Committee has also found fault with ticket distribution saying it was also a factor for the party's defeat in UP, the sources said.

Party President Sonia Gandhi had also earlier accepted problems in ticket distribution as a reason for the party's poor show in UP. Both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi have blamed the party debacle in UP mainly on poor organisational structure.

Congress could win only 28 seats in the state even though it had tied with Ajit Singh's RLD, which was expected to shore up its fortunes in Western UP. The party had got 22 seats in the 2007 Assembly elections. There has been talk about an overhaul of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee soon after the results and this is likely to gain momentum after submission of the report.

There is also speculation about dividing the state organisationally in four to five zones so as to get the party's act together.

Party sources, however, remain silent about the future course of action. Reviewing the party's debacle, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, who visited his Parliamentary constituency Amethi yesterday, asked the party workers to concentrate on the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. He is on a three-day visit of the constituency.

This is Rahul's first visit to the constituency after his party's dismal show in the assembly elections in which he had led the campaign from the front, criss-crossing the state and addressing hundreds of election meetings.

The party had also fared poorly in their bastions Amethi and Rae Bareli (Sonia Gandhi's constituency) with Congress not winning any of the five seats in Rae Bareli and only two in Amethi.

PTI