Days after the Congress flopped in the Bihar Assembly elections and bypolls, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal’s remark on the party’s leadership has revived infighting in the beleaguered party. Sibal was among the 23 Congress leaders who had written to party interim president Sonia Gandhi for reviving the organisation. Sharing another bitter truth about the party, senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram said the Congress had no organisational presence in Bihar at the grassroots. Mentioning Congress in a tweet on Monday, Karti P Chidambaram, MP and the son of Chidambaram, had also said it is the time to introspect, ideate, consult and act.
In an interview to Dainik Bhaskar, Chidambaram said the party has contested more seats in Bihar than then it should have. Despite the Bihar loss, he was more worried about the bypoll results in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. The RJD-Congress had a good chance of victory in Bihar but faced loss which needs a comprehensive review. Remembering the Congress victories, he said the Congress had won Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand assemblies not long ago. Chidambaram said the Bihar results had taught the Congress that even smaller parties like the Communist Party of India Marxist Leninist Liberation and Owaisi’s AIMIM could perform if organised well.
The seat-sharing formula in Bihar showed the Congress’ weakest link in the Tejashwi Yadav-led opposition Mahagathbandhan where the Congress contested more seats than its organizational strength. The Congress had been given 25 seats where the BJP had been winning for 20 years, Chidambaram said. Fielding Congress candidates on these 20 seats was an unreasonable sacrifice because these seats were often with strong upper-caste populations that were not likely to vote for Rashtriya Janata Dal. Chidambaram felt the Congress should have refused to contest these seats and fielded only 45 candidates.
The party has been roiled in turmoil following the August letter by senior leaders demanding among other things, a full-time party president.