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Criticism mounts in Congress at 'Team Rahul'
Thursday May 22, 2014 11:27 PM, IANS

Voices are growing in the Congress over the role of "Team Rahul" in the Lok Sabha elections with suggestions that the aides of vice president Rahul Gandhi could not read the ground realities.

Party leaders have begun giving vent to their feelings after the party's debacle in the Lok Sabha polls.

However, the criticism is not targeted directly at Rahul Gandhi, who led the party's campaign, but his team which aided him in campaign planning and strategy.

Former union minister Milind Deora, who said that Gandhi's advisers did not have their ears to the ground, stuck to his remarks Thursday but noted that his remarks were expressed out of "deep loyalty" and "pain".

"My comments are out of emotions of deep loyalty to the party, pain of our performance & a sincere desire to see us bounce back. Nothing more," Deora tweeted.

"Field party work & electoral battles are key to comprehend ground realities. This should form the basis for leadership posts in the Congress," he wrote in another tweet.

Deora said there were strong murmurs in the party that people who were calling the shots did not have electoral experience, status, standing and credibility in the party.

Deora, who did not take names during an interview to a national daily, also made a veiled criticism of Gandhi, saying that those who "take the advice also have to bear responsibility".

Former Congress MP Priya Dutt Thursday said a "bigger role" in the party organisation should only be given to "elected representatives".

"The Congress governments at the centre did a lot for the welfare of the people but we could not project our achievements or communicate them well," she said.

Dutt acknowledged there was disconnect between the party and the people at the grass root level. "We need to check that and take corrective measures," she said.

Both Dutt and Deora lost their Lok Sabha election.

Party workers have also been complaining that there was lack of avenues in the party to voice their opinions to the top leaders.

Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman refused to comment on the controversy, saying it was an "internal matter" of the Congress.

The Congress won just 44 seats in the Lok Sabha polls.

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