New Delhi, March 7 (IANS): The Congress organisational structure in Uttar Pradesh was weak, party president Sonia Gandhi said today after the dismal performance (28 of 403 seats) in the politically crucial State.
"Our party organisation was weak in UP... People were angry with the (ruling) Bahujan Samaj Party and they saw Samajwadi Party as an alternative," Gandhi told reporters outside her residence after reviewing the results in five States with party leaders here.
Her son and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi, who had campaigned extensively in Uttar Pradesh, had said the same thing on Tuesday after the party's loss in Uttar Pradesh.
The party came a poor fourth in Uttar Pradesh, barely scraped past the BJP in Uttarakhand and lost in Goa and Punjab. The only silver lining was Manipur where it retained power.
Gandhi also defended the party's poor performance in Nehru-Gandhi family strongholds of Amethi and Rae Bareli (where Congress could get only two out of 10 seats) stating "there have been such defeats earlier". "People were not happy with the sitting MLAs... the new candidates won," she said.
Stating there were many reasons for the party's dismal showing, Gandhi attributed wrong choice of candidates and price rise as possible reasons. "There are a number of reasons... Our choice of candidates was wrong but not the main reason... Price rise could be one of them," she said.
Stating "every election is a lesson whether the party wins or loses", Gandhi said: "We will sit down, review the results and work out a plan to correct our mistakes."
Talking about Uttarakhand, where the Congress had 32 seats in the 70-member house, one more than the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Gandhi said the party has the numbers and should be called to form the government.
The Congress president said the party had hopes of forming a government in Punjab but could not due to damage done by the debutant Punjab People's Party (PPP), headed by former Akali Dal leader Manpreet Singh Badal, the nephew of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. "The PPP damaged us in 23 seats," she said.
On Goa, where the BJP is set to form a government, Gandhi said many voters were unhappy with the party and therefore voted against it.
Stating that the results won't do any damage to the United Progressive Alliance government at the centre, Gandhi said if the government continues to talk to its allies and the opposition parties, they will support on issues benefiting the country.
Replying to a query on whether corruption was an issue in the polls, she cited the Lokpal Bill and said the Congress was the only party fighting against corruption. "We passed the Lokpal Bill in Lok Sabha but who blocked it in the Rajya Sabha?" she said, hinting at the BJP which did not support the legislation in the Upper House of Parliament in the winter session last year.