Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan on Thursday attributed BJP's success in the civic bodies elections, including the cash-rich BMC, to its "malpractice rather than merit".
"BJP won these elections by misusing power and money. The win is more of a result of their malpractice than merit," Chavan told reporters.
Replying to questions on the loss in Mumbai, Chavan said it was not right to blame party's city unit chief Sanjay Nirupam alone. "It's a team work. It's the team than wins or loses," he said.
In the all-important Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections, the Congress was relegated to the third position with 31 seats. Shiv Sena secured the first position by winning 84 seats, followed by BJP with 82 seats.
Both, however, were well short of the magic figure of 114 needed to control the civic body.
In the counting of votes held today, the NCP and Raj Thackeray's MNS were reduced to single digit figures of 9 and 7 seats, respectively.
Taking moral responsibility for Congress' poor performance in the BMC, party's city unit chief Sanjay Nirupam offered to resign from his post.
Vice president of Congress' Maharashtra unit, Ratnakar Mahajan said, "The results are mixed with the party doing well in Zilla Parishads while suffering reverses in the municipal corporations. It is definitely a setback."
He said the results have been unexpected and need to be analysed at the organisational level.
"Whether there has been a disconnect between voters and the party leaders should be seen," he said.
The party lost power in Amravati, Solapur civic bodies as well as Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, where it shared power with NCP.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also took strong exception to the use of money power in Mumbai civic polls and taking away of voting rights of lakhs of people and said it is the Shiv Sena and BJP which is now to stand test of people by fulfilling promises made to them.
He claimed the Shiv Sena called the BJP "Bharatiya Goonda party", which, in turn, called its estranged ally "the mafia", Surjewala wondered, "Will the 'Bharatiya Goonda party' and 'the mafia' once again run the BMC and live up to public's expectations?"
To the question of Sanjay Nirupam's resignation, he said, "He (Nirupam) has offered to resign. The party will take an appropriate decision at the right time."
He said the party will introspect on the reasons for the loss, even as the issue of infighting continued to haunt the grand old party.
"We will introspect. We will look for the reasons why Congress party did not do as well. We need to sit down and introspect about the reasons," Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
"We will rebuild our cadre, we will look at the reasons and we will ensure that Congress party emerges out stronger as a voice of people of Mumbai," he said.
However, senior party leader Milind Deora said the Congress failed to check infighting and expose the Shiv Sena-BJP's backdoor alliance and inspire the people of Mumbai.
"Sadly, Congress failed to halt infighting, play up local issues, expose Shiv Sena-BJP's backdoor alliance and inspire Mumbai to vote for change," the former Congress MP from South Mumbai said.
Deora later tweeted, "Congress needs to regain Mumbai's trust and re-establish relevance by replacing current urban narrative with a more credible alternative one."
(With PTI inputs)