Expressing disappointment over Congress' defeat in the recent Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Monday said he was confident about its good performance in the state in the upcoming general elections.
"I am sad that Congress lost the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh. But I am not disheartened by the results. We are now looking forward to doing well in the Lok Sabha elections this year," he told PCC delegates here.
"A new team has taken charge of Madhya Pradesh Congress and it would help the party yield good results in the upcoming polls," he said.
He advised Congress workers to hit the streets and struggle for the rights of the people and said if need be he was ready to face lathis. "I will join you in your protests and even face lathis," he said.
Rahul also said those party leaders who do not wish to work unitedly, were free to walk out of the party.
The Congress Vice President arrived here on Monday afternoon and attended a meeting where he interacted with 250 women representatives from across the country.
He sought their suggestions on what they thought should be included in the Congress manifesto for this year's Lok Sabha elections, party sources said.
Later, he went to Madhya Pradesh Congress office, where he addressed three brief meetings. One of them was attended by all those who had contested last November's assembly elections and another was with the State Youth Congress.
At the Youth Congress meeting, Rahul was briefed on the agitation carried out by it against the scam in the Professional Examination Board.
Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly Satyadev Katare said Rahul Gandhi has asked party-men to get ready to face the coming Lok Sabha polls fully prepared.
"He (Rahul) has given us a mission for the Lok Sabha polls, especially how to raise the number of Congress seats in the state in the Lower House of Parliament," Katare told reporters.
However, he refused to give any further detail about what Rahul told the party on the issue.
When asked whether the issue of the defeat in the assembly polls was discussed as Rahul arrived in the state for the first time after the humiliating drubbing, Katare said the matter was not discussed.
He also denied that a Congress member from Shivpuri, who had lost the polls, had blamed Union Minister of State Jyotiraditya Scindia for the defeat. "I was present at the meeting and nothing of that sort happened," Katare said.