New Delhi, Mar 7: Ruling out change of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the wake of the electoral debacle, Congress President Sonia Gandhi ascribed wrong selection of candidates, too many leaders and organisational weaknesses as among key factors that contributed to the party's dismal performance.
Gandhi, who met a large number of Congress office bearers individually at the AICC headquarters here, dismissed the possibility of the poll defeat "damaging" the UPA government at the Centre.
Emerging from the nearly three-hour interactive session, the Congress President conceded that the election results have a lesson for the party which she would discuss with party leaders and told partymen to "pull up the socks" for the coming electoral battles.
A number of states are going to the polls which include Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh this year and Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh next year. Lok Sabha polls are due in middle of 2014.
"Congress party has got support below its expectations. We accept it with all humility," Gandhi told reporters. When asked whether the poor election results will affect the UPA Government's stability, Gandhi put up a brave front, saying she does not feel that the results will "damage the UPA Government."
"The question does not arise," she shot back on the possibility of the Prime Minister stepping down and Congress choosing another leader for the post. Asked as to who would be the Congress candidate for Prime Minister in the 2014 elections, Sonia Gandhi sidestepped the question merely saying, "This is 2012".
When asked whether the party failed to fare well in U P because there was lack of leadership, Gandhi said "rather than lack of leaders, too many leaders that is our problem". In UP, people were angry with BSP and they saw SP as the alternative, she reasoned.