As Congress delays review of Bihar poll results, cracks begin to show

Akhilesh Prasad Singh blamed “flawed” electoral strategies drawn by BPCC chief Madan Mohan Jha and AICC leaders Randeep Singh Surjewala and Shaktisinh Gohil for losing seats the Congress was confident of winning.
Several Bihar Congress leaders are hoping for the review of party’s performance in Bihar polls to be held sooner than later.(HT photo)
Several Bihar Congress leaders are hoping for the review of party’s performance in Bihar polls to be held sooner than later.(HT photo)
Updated on Dec 26, 2020 12:44 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Patna | BySubhash Pathak | Edited by Abhinav Sahay

Even a month and a half after the Bihar Assembly election results were declared, the Congress party is yet to assess the reasons for its flop show despite being blamed by ally, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), for the Grand Alliance or Mahagathbandhan’s narrow loss to the NDA, and despite every other major political outfit having reviewed their poll performances.

While the RJD emerged as the single largest party with victories on 75 seats, the Congress had to be content with just 19 seats, eight less than the previous elections. It was only due to the Left parties’ vastly improved performance that the GA managed to win 110 out of the 243 Assembly seats in the state.

Senior party leaders including All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Tariq Anwar and Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) campaign committee chief Akhilesh Prasad Singh, said that the party needed a formal review of the defeat in order to rebuild the organisation soon.

Anwar, also a former Union minister, is hopeful that the AICC would undertake the review exercise soon. “Review of the defeat in Bihar is very much on the AICC agenda,” he said, citing discussions with party leaders in Delhi.

Singh blamed “flawed” electoral strategies drawn by BPCC chief Madan Mohan Jha and AICC leaders Randeep Singh Surjewala and Shaktisinh Gohil for losing the seats the party was confident of winning.

Also Read: Ashwini Kumar Choubey seeks CM Nitish Kumar’s help to end strike of Bihar’s junior doctors

“We lost Mithilanchal, as we refused to rethink our candidate for the Jale assembly seat, which allowed the opposition to create a Hindu-Muslim divide. I have studied (our performance on) every seat and know how the party lost. I am ready to explain it to the party senior, Rahul Gandhi,” added Singh.

BPCC chief Jha said Gohil’s prolonged illness was causing the delay in review exercise. “Senior leaders often meet at Sadaqat Ashram and informally discuss the causes of the setback. However, a formal review is needed,” said Jha.

A senior AICC member Kishore Kumar Jha claimed the party’s “laidback” approach had demoralised party workers. “Leaders of the RJD and the Left often criticise the Congress leadership for defeat in polls because state party leaders lacked courage. Senior RJD leader Shivanand Tiwari got away with criticising the party leadership. Sadly, those in key positions in the BPCC refused to react,” said Jha, adding that some leaders were avoiding the crucial review meeting to save their own skins.

Recently, Shivanand Tiwari had hit out at Rahul Gandhi, claiming he lacked leadership quality and therefore didn’t inspire people. He advised the Congress president to forsake her ‘blind love for son’ for the sake of the country. AICC media panellist and MLC Prem Chandra Mishra was the only prominent leader to respond to Tiwari’s attack.

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