Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal's remarks over the grand old party's dismal performance in the recently-held Bihar assembly elections have not gone down well with his party colleagues.
Rajasthan Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said, "There was no need for Sibal to mention Congress' internal issue in media." "There are various reasons for electoral losses. But each time the rank and file of the Congress Party has shown undivided and firm belief in the party leadership and that is why we came out of it stronger and united after every crisis," he added.
Gehlot further said that Congress is the only party which can keep this nation united and take it forward on the path of comprehensive development. "We have improved with each and every crisis and also formed the UPA government in 2004 under the able leadership of Sonia Gandhi. We shall overcome this time too," he said.
Congress leader Tariq Anwar also echoed Gehlot. He said, "What Ashok ji said is true. Kapil Sibal is a senior leader. He should understand that if the party lacks something and he wants to give a suggestion, he should meet the party high command and president. If he's giving a statement in the media, it'll only be a loss to the party.”
Another senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid also took a dig at Sibal and others raising questions, calling them "doubting Thomases" who suffer periodic "pangs of anxiety". In a Facebook post that started with an Urdu couplet of Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, former Union Minister Khurshid, said if the mood of the electorate is resistant to the liberal values the party has espoused and cherished, it should be prepared for a long struggle rather than look for short cuts to get back into power.
Earlier, a few Congress leaders including Sibal and Karti Chidambaram called for introspection after the party's poor show in Bihar.
"First of all, we Congressmen must recognise that we are in decline. Ever since the communication revolution took place, elections have turned into a presidential contest. The Congress needs to discover itself. In this presidential form of election we must find answers and then decide what we need to do. If we are not able to recognise our shortcomings, then even the electoral process will not lead to the desired results," Sibal said in an interview to the Indian Express.
"The culture of nominations must go. Elections through nominations will not lead to the desired results. Some of us put our pen to paper and said what should be done in the Congress on the road ahead. Instead of listening to us they turned their back on us. The results are for all to see," he added.
"Its time we introspect, ideate, consult & act @INCIndia," tweeted Congress MP Karti Chidambaram. He made the cryptic comment while tagging a tweet by senior party colleague Kapil Sibal on his interview about the Bihar poll outcome.
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)