Sonia Gandhi: Indian Voters Unhappy with Congress Party Candidates

Posted March 7th, 2012 at 5:55 am (UTC-5)
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The head of India's Congress Party says voter unhappiness with the party's candidates is one reason for its poor finish in recent state elections.

Sonia Gandhi held a rare news conference Wednesday to talk about Congress' defeat in three of five states where elections were held over a period between late January and early March. The results were announced Tuesday.

She blamed the losses in part on voter dissatisfaction with the Congress Party's choice of candidates. She said every election is a lesson for the party and that she does not expect the losses to hurt the Congress-led national coalition government.

Gandhi's son Rahul, Congress' general secretary, says he is responsible for the party's loss in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state. He said he led the campaign there and blames the loss on poor party organization.

Congress finished fourth in Uttar Pradesh. The loss could be a blow to Gandhi's hopes of being the next member of the famed Gandhi-Nehru political dynasty that has dominated Indian politics since independence from Britain in 1947.

Some political experts have touted Gandhi as the next prime minister when India holds general elections in 2014.

The socialist Samajwadi Party won control of Uttar Pradesh. Congress held on to power in Manipur and will govern as part of a coalition in Uttarakhand, but lost Goa to the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. It also lost in Punjab.