The panel led by former defence minister AK Antony also held discussion with leaders from Punjab, who cited the emergence of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) there after Arvind Kejrwal government in Delhi promised an SIT monitored probe, as a major reason for Congress' inability to cash in on the anti-incumbency mood against SAD-Akali Dal government in the state.
    
In both states, internal dissension was cited as a major reason for the party's debacle besides the national mood of anti-incumbency against UPA and a Narendra Modi wave.
    
Besides the two states, Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed, who is a senior leader from Bihar and in-charge of Delhi as well, briefed Antony panel about reasons for Congress defeat in the two states. The panel has already met other leaders of Bihar and Delhi.
    
There is a view in a section of Congress that it did not benefit from alliance with Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in Bihar in this Lok Sabha polls and should hitch its wagon to Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) for the upcoming Assembly polls next year.
    
While senior leaders cited internal dissension in Haryana as one of the reasons for the 1-10 performance of the party in Hooda-ruled Haryana, leaders like Chaudhary Birender Singh and Avtar Singh Bhadana blamed it on the Chief Minister's style of functioning.
    
They are learnt to have told the AK Antony panel that the next election in Haryana should not be fought under Hooda's leadership.
    
Bhadana, a former MP from Faridabad, who lost the election to BJP's Krishnapal Gurjar this time, alleged that the Chief Minister was in league with Gurjar to ensure his defeat.
    
Badhana said after the meeting that he as well as many leaders have told the Antony panel that while they have full faith in the leadership of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, "We are not ready to fight election under Hooda's leadership. If the arrangement continues, we will not fight the next election."

(Agencies)

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