Congress leaders have reacted cautiously to the remark by Sanjay Nirupam, the party's MP who lost from the Mumbai North constituency, that even Narendra Modi would have lost had he contested on a Congress ticket.
Nirupam told journalists on Saturday that despite several decisions taken by it for the welfare of the people, a severe anti-incumbency wave had worked against the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. However, he suggested that the hatred for the party would not remain forever.
Sachin Sawant, spokesperson of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC), said on Sunday, "We will have to examine the context in which Nirupam made the statement. So it will not be appropriate for me to comment on it."
Janardhan Chandurkar, president, Mumbai Regional Congress Committee, said Nirupam appeared to be disturbed by the defeat. "What he may have tried to say is how difficult it was to win. The Congress has done badly in nine to ten states, but we should be able to overcome the defeat and fight the battle ahead. I am sure even Nirupam will be able to do the same," he said.
Quite a few Congress leaders have been openly critical of the party's performance in the recent Lok Sabha polls in which it recorded its lowest-ever tally.
A fortnight ago, Milind Deora, the Congress MP who lost from Mumbai South constituency, said field party work and electoral battles were key to comprehending ground realities and should form the basis for leadership posts.
Priya Dutt, who also lost the polls, admitted that there was a disconnect between the people on the ground and top leaders. "The top leadership should take opinion from a wide range of people and MPs," she said.