The Congress needs to “move beyond this cliched introspection business into some serious action”, said Shashi Tharoor, one of the party’s 44 parliamentarians as the election results today collated another massive failure for the Congress.

Mr Tharoor said the party’s central leadership -its First Family of the Gandhis -cannot be held accountable for the Congress debacle which saw it voted out in Assam and Kerala.

‘All state elections are not a referendum on national leadership, there are local issues involved” Mr Tharoor said, reflecting the traditional Congress refusal to question the efficacy of the Sonia-Rahul Gandhi combo as its driving force.

In Assam, governed by the Congress for 15 years, the BJP triumphed to land its first North Eastern state. Kerala has switched sides from the Congress-led coalition to the Left Front.

Mr Tharoor, who represents Kerala in the Lok Sabha, said what’s obvious is the desperate need for younger leaders. The Left’s chief ministerial contenders include VS Achuthanandan, who is 93, and played a lead role in the winning campaign.

Rahul Gandhi, Congress Vice President, tweeted that he accepts the people’s verdict with all humility and will focus on improvement. Under his leadership, the Congress slid in the 2104 general election to its worst-ever performance.

“The majority of the people who have won seats for the UDF (Congress alliance) in Kerala are extremely young leaders in their early 30s,” said Mr Tharoor. “That’s a great sign, it shows a party that’s capable of reaching out to a younger generation, that will be a party that focuses on the future…I think you’ll see the Congrees reinventing itself in Kerala as a party of young leadership”.