The Congress in Karnataka on Wednesday decided to form panchayat-level committees after the party’s debacle in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, The Indian Express reported. The party made the decision to strengthen its reach in the state.

“There is a unanimous decision among the top leadership of the party that panchayat-level committees should be formed in between the block and booth levels,” KC Venugopal, who is in charge of the party in the state, was quoted as saying. He added that the process to form the committees will be completed in three months.

He also said that the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, which was dissolved on June 19, will be reconstituted within three weeks. “Strict guidelines will be followed with regard to the selection of new office-bearers. They will be selected strictly based on merit,” Venugopal said.

The party has a three-tier leadership structure – the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, District Congress Committee and Block Congress Committee.

A review meeting with 21 Congress candidates who were defeated in Karnataka during the elections was held and it was decided that block-level and booth-level committees will also be reconstituted.

“A three-day state-level leadership camp will also be conducted to discuss how to move forward to strengthen the party in Karnataka,” Venugopal said.

The Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) formed a coalition in May 2018 in the state, but the relationship has been rocky since the beginning. The coalition won only two seats between them in the Lok Sabha elections, while the BJP emerged victorious in 25 out of 28 constituencies.

There has been added tension with the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) alliance with war of words between the two parties, and, defection of its leaders is always a threat. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has also been seen making emotional remarks about his difficulties a number of times.