The recently concluded Assembly and bypolls have not been kind to the Congress. The Mahagathbandhan lost the elections by a small margin of seats, with many accusing the Congress of being the weak link in the alliance. Indeed while the RJD emerged as the single largest party in the Assembly with 75 seats and the Left parties rejoiced over their victory in a total of 12 seats, the Congress could only win 19 of the 70 seats that it had contested.
Soon after this, there had been an outpouring of contrasting reactions. While some made oblique references to EVM tampering, others heaped blame on the Assaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM which was part of Grand Democratic Secular Front and had secured five seats.
Then came a second group of individuals who lambasted the critics, urging the party leaders to look inwards to better understand their failure. In a recent interview for a leading newspaper, Congress leader Kapil Sibal had been vocal in his criticism of the Congress leadership after the party's poor poll showing in Bihar. Sibal who had earlier been a part of the 23-leader group that had written to party chief Sonia Gandhi in August with suggestions to revive the organisation, told the publication about the party's lack of introspection over the last six years.
Now, even as many Congress leaders attack Sibal over his recent comments, there has been yet another interview that is making waves. This time, it is P Chidambaram who has hit out at the Congress over its recent poll performances, opining in a recent interview with Dainik Bhaskar that the party should have contested far less than 70 seats in Bihar.
Noting that the Mahagatbandhan had had a good change of claiming the Bihar Assembly, he said that there was a need for review. 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 was quoted as saying.
With reference to the other states, Chidambaram also expressed concern over the recent bypoll results. While the Congress may have won Madhya Pradesh in the recent past, they are no longer at the helm. And with their recent poor showing at the bypolls, an immediate comeback is no longer possible. This is not the only example. Chidambaram had reportedly expressed concern 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," he opined.