The Congress Working Committee (CWC) will meet on Monday to discuss the party’s worst-ever showing in a general election, but so demoralised are its members that no pre-meeting parleys have been held in a break from the past.
Top party functionaries say the meeting will focus on stocktaking, assessment and analysis of why things went horribly wrong. They do not rule out the possibility of some leaders close to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who have been given major responsibilities, being singled out for attack.
The subject of who will be the party leader in the Lok Sabha is likely to be raised. While Kamal Nath, one of the 44 Congress candidates to win this election, is positioning himself for a larger role, there are many seniors inimical to his being given a larger responsibility. Mr. Nath, in a TV interview, called for elections to the CWC as a start.
But a senior functionary pointed out that while Mr. Nath or Amarinder Singh, who defeated senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley in Amritsar, might be considered to lead the party in the Lok Sabha, there would be counterclaims from the south from where the bulk of the seats have come from.
Therefore, in the end, it would have to be given to Congress president Sonia Gandhi or her son, Mr. Gandhi.
The party is likely to announce a Chintan Shivir-type session, sources said. As party seniors look at the reasons for the ignominious defeat, the work of the Congress Core Group will come up for scrutiny.