Amid questions over Rahul Gandhi's leadership after poll debacle, Congress today signalled that the national leadership is not washing off its hands even as it insisted that the party Vice President took no decision on his own and that he would be "more active" in the future.
After senior leader Digvijay Singh stirred the hornet's nest by talking about the need for "major surgery", the party said a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision-making body, will be convened soon to discuss the poll outcome and the future course of action.
However, efforts to shield Rahul Gandhi continued, with party spokesman P C Chacko saying he had not taken a single decision on his own and that it was the state units where poll strategy was decided as per the local conditions.
"We had given full freedom to state units to decide poll strategy...We are not saying national leadership is not responsible," Chacko told reporters while replying to a volley of questions on the poll drubbing.
The CWC had taken decisions on state elections as "ours is a federal system", he said.
On Digvijay Singh's pitch for "major surgery" which reflected an unease in the party, the spokesman said suggestions from senior leaders are welcome but "I wish suggestions are made inside the party fora".
He said a meeting of the CWC is expected to be held soon and the leaders can give their views there to facilitate a thorough debate.
The talk in the party is that the date and venue of an AICC meeting would be finailised at the meeting of the CWC.
"We in the Congress including Rahul Gandhi ...would be more active in the near future," Chacko said.
When a reporter sought to know whether the Congress would go into the role of Rahul Gandhi as the situation of the party has worsened since he became its Vice President, Chacko said that the impression might not be correct.
Suggesting that it was a collective responsibility in the party, he said Rahul Gandhi did not take a single decision on his own and had always kept the CWC on board.
Besides, Chacko said the party units in the states, where the polls were held, decided the strategy as per the local conditions and there was "no pressure" from the high command.
Citing the instance of Kerala, he said the party-led UDF headed by the outgoing Chief Minister Oomen Chandy decided strategy and "we are not disappointed as our vote share is intact" in the state.
Yesterday, the AICC had sought to throw a protective ring around Rahul Gandhi as it had rejected suggestions that the party Vice President should accept blame for the poll debacle.
Today, Chacko gave the impression that the party would soon be seen on the fast track based on the decisions taken to strengthen the organisation.