Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) veteran leader Shivanand Tiwari on Saturday lashed out at Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi after the Congress' dismal performance in the Bihar assembly elections, saying the grand old party had "shackled" the Mahagathbandhan in the state.
"Congress shackled the Mahagathbandhan with chains in the assembly elections. It contested 70 seats but did not hold even 70 rallies," he said.
Criticising Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, Tiwari said, "Rahul Gandhi visited Bihar on three days and addressed two rallies a day. Priyanka Gandhi was not seen at all. When electioneering was at its peak, he was picnicking with Priyanka Gandhi in Shimla."
Meanwhile, Congress has reacted sharply to Tiwari's criticism, with Bihar Congress in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil questioning RJD leader's 'loyalty'.
"Shivanand Tiwari has changed parties again & again & was an MP from JD(U). Not surprising that his loyalty still seems to be with JD(U). He is levelling baseless allegations against Congress to help weak govt of JD(U)-BJP," Gohil said.
Gohil added that Congress agreed with all the decisions of its allies to keep Mahagathbandhan intact. "(Congress) also agreed to contest on seats where Grand Alliance had not won for over 30 yrs. RJD will have to identify such ppl otherwise parties & Bihar will suffer in days to come," he further said.
Congress leader Tariq Anwar said that Shivanand Tiwari must think before making such remarks. "Shivanand Tiwari is senior & must think before making such remarks. Congress isn't RJD. RJD is a regional party & its leaders are confined to Bihar. Rahul Gandhi had said he'll come to Bihar whenever needed & he did so. He can't work like leaders of RJD," he said.
Meanwhile, RJD leader Manoj Jha said it was Tiwari's personal opinion and not the party's stand. Jha added that a proper analysis will be done at the right time to identify where did the Grand Alliance lack in cooperation and synergy.
"It's his personal opinion and not the party's stand. There's a proper time and place for any analysis, which will be done to identify where did we lack in cooperation and synergy," Jha told ANI on being asked about Tiwari's remark.
For the uninitiated, Congress won a meagre 19 out of the 70 seats it contested in Bihar. RJD's Tejashwi Yadav-led Mahagathbandhan of which the Congress was the second major partner ended up with 110 seats while the NDA retained power in a close contest, bagging 125 seats in the 243-member assembly in the recent polls.
(With input from agencies)