Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala addressing a press conference at Scada Business Centre, in Patna.(Santosh Kumar/ Hindustan Times)
Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala addressing a press conference at Scada Business Centre, in Patna.(Santosh Kumar/ Hindustan Times)

Poor selection, parachuting leaders spelled Cong debacle

Apart from sidelining of state leadership, choice of seats, poor selection of candidates and lack of coordination with partners identified as key reasons for defeat
By Aurangzeb Naqshbandi | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON NOV 13, 2020 03:00 AM IST

Around a dozen candidates perceived as outsiders to the party were given tickets by the Congress in the just-concluded assembly elections in Bihar, a move that angered loyalists who refused to campaign in the polls, people aware of the matter said.

And all of these “outsider” candidates failed to win their elections, bringing the Congress’s tally down to 19 and, in the process, denting the Opposition Grand Alliance’s (GA) chances of ousting the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) from power. The party fought on 70 seats, meaning that it’s strike rate of 27% was the worst among major parties in the state.

Click here for full coverage of Bihar Election 2020

Apart from sidelining of the state leadership, choice of seats, poor selection of candidates, weak organisational structure, delayed seat-sharing deal, unimpressive campaign and lack of coordination with alliance partners have been identified as key reasons for the Congress party’s poor show in the elections.

Reacting to the poll outcome, former finance minister P Chidambaram told reporters on Thursday that the CWC will review the situation and come up with an official statement on the elections. “We accept the verdict and are disappointed with our performance. But please remember Bihar is poorest state of India. Mr Narendra Modi has been Prime Minister since 2014 and Mr Nitish Kumar has been the chief minister since 2005, yet Bihar is the poorest state of India,” he said.

But the problems manifested themselves several weeks ago.

Soon after the Congress released its first list of candidates on October 15, vociferous protests erupted across Bihar with party workers alleging irregularities in ticket distribution. “Tickets were also given to tainted and incompetent candidates,” a Congress functionary said, asking not to be named.

The protests led to former Congress president Rahul Gandhi stepping in and forming different panels to oversee the party’s poll strategy.

The central teams took complete control of the election management from the state unit and even devised the party’s campaign strategy. This move infuriated local leaders and they took the back seat, hampering the party’s election preparations and campaigning.

Congress leader Kesar Singh said the party high command should take disciplinary action against those who pushed for the selection of outsiders. He also said no state committee was formed after then Bihar Congress chief Ashok Chaudhary left the party to join the Janata Dal (United) in 2017. “The Congress leadership should activate the state unit and make it fighting fit for the next elections,” he added

The party’s Bihar in-charge is Shaktisinh Gohil.

A second Congress functionary said on condition of anonymity that the party insisted on “quantity” rather than “quality” of seats in its negotiations with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

He said the RJD had initially offered around 50 seats to the Congress after conducting a survey in all the 243 constituencies.

But Congress leaders insisted on 100 seats, and even threatened to walk out of the GA. Finally, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had to intervene and conveyed to the RJD leadership that her party would not settle for less than 70 seats.

The RJD conceded to the demand and gave the Congress 70 seats. While the RJD decided to fight on 144 seats, it gave the three Left parties 29 seats. The RJD was the single-largest party with 75 seats, and the three Left parties performed remarkably well, winning 16 seats.

Congress leaders contented they were given tough seats and lost a majority of those to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). An assessment, however, suggests that the party also lost a substantial number of contests to the JD(U) and smaller parties.

Senior Congress leader and former MP Tariq Anwar admitted that his party emerged as the “weakest link” in the Mahagathbandhan.

Of the 51 seats the Congress lost, BJP won 29, JD(U) 17, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) of Asaduddin Owaisi and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi two each, and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) one.

Patna-based political analyst Ajay Kumar Jha said good candidates are not attracted to the Congress because of its weak organisational structure. “Congress lacks credible candidates and that is why it looks for outsiders,” he said.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Switching political allegiance doesn't always guarantee leadership positions, Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said.(Prateek Choudhury/Hindustan Times File Photo)
Switching political allegiance doesn't always guarantee leadership positions, Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said.(Prateek Choudhury/Hindustan Times File Photo)

'Need to induct leaders from other parties to expand base': Bengal BJP chief

PTI, Kolkata
UPDATED ON JAN 24, 2021 06:52 PM IST
In an interview to PTI, he also clarified that everybody has to abide by the rules and regulations of the party, be it the old-timers or the newcomers.
Close
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi being welcomed by people during his public rally, in Tamil Nadu on Sunday.(ANI Photo)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi being welcomed by people during his public rally, in Tamil Nadu on Sunday.(ANI Photo)

In Tamil Nadu, Rahul Gandhi offers a solution to deal with China

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi
UPDATED ON JAN 24, 2021 05:55 PM IST
Gandhi is on a three-day visit to Tamil Nadu which is scheduled to go to polls in April-May. He is interacting with farmers, weavers and the general public during the visit.
Close
Union Home minister Amit Shah was addressing a rally in Assam's Kokrajhar.(File photo)
Union Home minister Amit Shah was addressing a rally in Assam's Kokrajhar.(File photo)

Only Modi-led BJP can rid Assam of terrorism and intruders: Amit Shah

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Arpan Rai
UPDATED ON JAN 24, 2021 03:06 PM IST
Targeting Congress for lack of development in the state, Shah said, "The Congress party stained Assam in blood for years and instigated different movements in the state."
Close
Congress' West Bengal in-charge Jitin Prasada with Rahul Gandhi(PTI)
Congress' West Bengal in-charge Jitin Prasada with Rahul Gandhi(PTI)

Congress-Left to fight for Bengal's identity: Jitin Prasada

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 01:29 PM IST
Accusing the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of not focusing on people's issues, Prasada said this election in Bengal should have been about the performance of the BJP-led central government and what it has done for Bengal.
Close
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addressing a road show in Erode on Sunday.( ANI)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addressing a road show in Erode on Sunday.( ANI)

'Here to help', 'Indebted to you': What Rahul Gandhi said at Erode roadshow

Written by Poulomi Ghosh
UPDATED ON JAN 24, 2021 01:27 PM IST
Invoking his family's relationship with Tamil Nadu, on the second day of his tour, Rahul thanked the people of the state for all their love and affection.
Close
During his first visit to the poll-bound state, the PM said allotment of these certificates would ensure that the benefits of government schemes reached these families.(ANI file photo)
During his first visit to the poll-bound state, the PM said allotment of these certificates would ensure that the benefits of government schemes reached these families.(ANI file photo)

Ahead of Assam polls, PM Modi distributes land allotment certificates

By Utpal Parashar, Guwahati
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 06:00 AM IST
In its 2016 election manifesto, the BJP, which came to power in Assam with the slogan of protecting ‘jaati’, ‘maati’ and ‘bheti’ (community, land and hearth), had promised to give land rights to the state’s indigenous families.
Close
The former Congress president also targeted the BJP’s ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.(AFP)
The former Congress president also targeted the BJP’s ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.(AFP)

Rahul Gandhi launches Cong’s Tamil Nadu poll campaign, hits out at PM Modi

By Divya Chandrababu, Chennai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 05:40 AM IST
“Currently, they are trying to bring one idea of one language, one culture which we are fighting,” Rahul said, launching the Congress’ election campaign from Coimbatore district.
Close
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is on a three-day visit to Tamil Nadu from January 23 to January 25.(Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is on a three-day visit to Tamil Nadu from January 23 to January 25.(Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)

'Not policy mistakes but systematic assault': Rahul Gandhi on farm laws 

Written by Prashasti Singh, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 23, 2021 09:21 PM IST
Speaking at a rally in Tamil Nadu's Tiruppur months ahead of assembly elections in the state are to be held, the Congress leader compared farm laws with demonetisation.
Close
“I still say what Bengal thinks today India thinks tomorrow, let us do that” said Mamata Banerjee in her address(PTI Photo)
“I still say what Bengal thinks today India thinks tomorrow, let us do that” said Mamata Banerjee in her address(PTI Photo)

'We celebrate Netaji not just in election year': Mamata Banerjee's top 10 quotes

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Ayshee Bhaduri, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 04:24 PM IST
“We will build an Azad Hind Monument. We will show how it will be done. They've spent thousands of crores in building statues and a new parliament complex. A monument, named after Azad Hind Fauj, will be built at Rajarhat." said the chief minister at the end of her rally
Close
Kolkata: West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar speaks during the inauguration of 45th Regional Conference of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, in Kolkata, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. (PTI Photo) (PTI01_19_2021_000048B)(PTI)
Kolkata: West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar speaks during the inauguration of 45th Regional Conference of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, in Kolkata, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. (PTI Photo) (PTI01_19_2021_000048B)(PTI)

WB Governor Dhankhar promises violence-free assembly elections

ANI, Kolkata
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 12:44 PM IST
Jagdeep Dhankhar blamed the previous Union governments for not paying enough respect to several freedom fighters like Netaji, Ambedkar and Sardar Patel.
Close
Prime Minister Narendra Modi distributes 'Land Patta' to a woman during a public meeting, at Jerenga Pathar in Sivasagar District of Assam. (PTI Photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi distributes 'Land Patta' to a woman during a public meeting, at Jerenga Pathar in Sivasagar District of Assam. (PTI Photo)

Assamese people have legal assurance that their lands can't be taken away: PM

PTI
UPDATED ON JAN 23, 2021 01:57 PM IST
Assamese people now have legal assurance that their lands cannot be taken away, say PM Modi
Close
Shah, on January 24, will hold two public meetings in Assam, which is scheduled to go to the polls later this year.(ANI/Twitter)
Shah, on January 24, will hold two public meetings in Assam, which is scheduled to go to the polls later this year.(ANI/Twitter)

Amit Shah reaches Guwahati, to hold public meetings on Jan 24

ANI, Guwahati
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 06:15 AM IST
BJP Vice President and party in-charge of Assam, Baijayant Jay Panda, is currently camping in Assam and looking after the preparations for Shah's rally.
Close
Terming TMC's allegations 'unfortunate', the CEC said the BSF was one of the finest forces.(PTI)
Terming TMC's allegations 'unfortunate', the CEC said the BSF was one of the finest forces.(PTI)

'Unfortunate': CEC Sunil Arora on TMC allegation that BSF is 'coercing' voters

Written by Prashasti Singh, Kolkata
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 07:11 PM IST
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said concerns of political parties in West Bengal about the law and order situation in the state during electioneering for the upcoming polls will be addressed by ensuring optimal deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs).
Close
"The ECI will ensure that there is no irregularity and every voter is allowed to cast vote in a free and fair manner in the assembly polls. We know how to get it done," said Chief election commissioner Sunil Arora.
"The ECI will ensure that there is no irregularity and every voter is allowed to cast vote in a free and fair manner in the assembly polls. We know how to get it done," said Chief election commissioner Sunil Arora.

Election Commission has zero-tolerance to money and muscle power: CEC Arora

PTI, Kolkata
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 07:04 PM IST
"The commission has zero-tolerance to money and muscle power or misuse of government machinery," the Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora told reporters. Adding that no civic police volunteers will be deployed for the upcoming assembly elections in the state.
Close
Rajib Banerjee went to the Raj Bhawan in the afternoon and submitted a copy of the letter to governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.(ANI/Twitter)
Rajib Banerjee went to the Raj Bhawan in the afternoon and submitted a copy of the letter to governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.(ANI/Twitter)

Gave my resignation as I was troubled, mentally hurt: Rajib Banerjee

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Susmita Pakrasi, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 03:03 PM IST
  • Rajib Banerjee resigned from the post amid speculations that he too may join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the state assembly elections.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP