The Bihar election and by-poll results show that the Congress has no organisational presence on the ground or has weakened considerably, senior leader P Chidambaram has said, delivering another shot of home-truths in the middle of turmoil over Kapil Sibal’s open criticism.
Mr Chidambaram, who has been more guarded than many within the Congress on the party’s election debacles and the leadership drift, also told the newspaper Dainik Bhaskar in an interview that the party may have contested more seats in Bihar than it should have.
“I am more worried about the by-poll results in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. These results show that the party either has no organisational presence on the ground or has been weakened considerably,” said the former Union Minister, on the question of the Congress’s setbacks despite the coronavirus crisis and the economic slowdown handing it strong campaign points.
“In Bihar, the RJD-Congress had a chance of winning. Why we lost despite being so close to victory is something that needs comprehensive review. Remember, not long ago the Congress had won Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand,” he said.
Mr Chidambaram said the Bihar results had proved that even smaller parties like CPI-ML and AIMIM can perform if they are organizationally strong at the grassroots level. “The opposition alliance can get as many votes as the BJP-led coalition but to beat them, we have to strengthen our organization at the ground level.”
On the Congress being judged the weakest link in the Tejashwi Yadav-led opposition Mahagathbandhan, the veteran leader conceded: “I feel the Congress contested more seats than its organizational strength. The Congress was given 25 seats where the BJP or its allies had been winning for 20 years. The Congress should have refused to contest from these seats. The party should have fielded only 45 candidates.”