Many heads may roll as blame game begins in Cong over poll predictions

A day after the exit polls predicted a rout for the Congress in four states and Delhi, where elections were held, knives were out for leaders who “did not perform well” in what were considered as semi-finals before the Lok Sabha elections next year.

Allegations flew thick and fast on internal sabotage by leaders, particularly in Delhi and Rajasthan where exit polls indicated that the Congress would lose power.  The central leadership of the Congress was stunned by the findings of the exit polls, which forecast the grand old party’s crushing defeat in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi. The Congress was also seen performing below par in the Mizoram elections.

A senior Congress leader did not rule out changes in the AICC once the results are out on Sunday. “We will have to make corrections,” he said without specifying the steps the party would take.

A senior leader from Rajasthan pointed fingers at the campaign committee for not putting in its best foot forward in the run up to the elections. AICC general secretary C P Joshi, a known detractor of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, was the chairman of the committee.

AICC emissaries have been despatched to Rajasthan to assess the post-election scenario and submit a report to the central leadership.

In Delhi, some party leaders alleged that a section of Congressmen would be responsible for the ouster of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit who has been at the helm of affairs in the National Capital Territory for the past decade-and-a-half.

A significant section of Congress leaders were resigned to the party’s fortunes dipping in the Delhi Assembly but were engaged in counter-checks with the party cadre on the voting patterns in the capital.

Congress spokesman Bhakta Charan Das launched a broadside against exit polls and sought to dismiss their outcome claiming that most pollsters did not follow scientific methods while carrying out their surveys.

“The exit polls are an attempt to turn a lie into truth by repeating it several times. What if even one of the surveys goes wrong,” Das said at the AICC briefing.

As a matter of policy, the Congress does not approve of exit polls and it had not sent a single leader to participate in debates on news channels Wednesday night. The BJP was all smiles at the Congress’ discomfiture over the exit polls with senior leader Arun Jaitley claiming that the exit poll results had demoralised the ruling party.

“On Wednesday, the Congress spokespersons were conspicuous by their absence in the discussions on the Exit Polls. If this is the demoralization that the exit polls give to the Congress Party, I wonder what would happen when the actual results come in,” Jaitley said.

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