Post-election blues: Bihar results spark crisis in Congress


New Delhi, Nov 19 (ANI): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi pays floral tribute to the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her 103rd birth anniversary at Shakti Sthal, in New Delhi on Thursday. (ANI Photo)

Our Bureau
New Delhi 

Kapil Sibal faces criticism as he demands a fresh review of the defeat in Bihar 

After facing defeat in Bihar assembly elections and by-elections, a meeting of the special committee to assist Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi took place on Tuesday. This meeting happened at a time when the issue of review in Congress has been emerging after the defeat in the elections. Kapil Sibal, one of the 23 Congress leaders who wrote a letter to Sonia Gandhi a few months ago to demand reforms in the party, has demanded a fresh review of the defeat, after which he has come under fire from fellow Congress leaders.

From Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to Delhi Congress president Anil Chaudhary, Congress leaders are targeting Sibal for raising questions.

Hitting out at Kapil Sibal for his remarks over the Congress’ dismal performance in the Bihar polls and by-elections, party leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has said that speaking without doing anything doesn’t mean introspection.

“Kapil Sibal spoke about this even earlier. He seems to be very concerned about the Congress party and the need for introspection. But we didn’t see his face in elections in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, or Gujarat,” Chowdhury told reporters on Tuesday. Congress leader Kapil Sibal had, in an interview with a leading daily newspaper, advocated the need for introspection within the party in light of the results of the Bihar Legislative Assembly elections and the Madhya Pradesh by-polls.

“Had Kapil Sibal gone to Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, he could have proved that what he is saying is correct and that he strengthened the position of Congress. Mere talk will achieve nothing. Speaking without doing anything doesn’t mean introspection,” Chowdhury said.

In August, a Special Committee was formed to assist the interim president of the Congress, Sonia Gandhi on organizational and operational matters.

Ahmed Patel, KC Venugopal, AK Antony, Ambika Soni, Mukul Wasnik, Randeep Surjewala are its members. The important thing is that due to ill health, Ahmed Patel is admitted to the hospital. Despite this, questions are being raised about whether a new storm is coming inside the Congress.

The Congress is being blamed for the defeat of the Grand Alliance in the recently concluded Bihar elections. In the alliance, the success rate of RJD and the Left parties was more than 50 per cent whereas the Congress could win only 19 seats out of 70 seats it contested.

Congress got only nine seats out of 28 in Madhya Pradesh by-election. The Congress could not win a single seat in the by-elections in two assembly seats in Karnataka and eight assembly seats in Gujarat. Congress performance was also disappointing in UP where Priyanka Gandhi is in-charge.

RJD leaders have also raised questions over Congress party’s attitude towards Bihar Assembly polls. RJD leader Shivanand Tiwari has taken on the party leadership saying that they didn’t pay heed to the campaign as many senior leaders like Priyanka Gandhi, former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and even Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi didn’t turn up for the poll campaign. 

Responding to party leader Shivanand Tiwari’s “polls were in full swing and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was on a picnic” remark during the Bihar Assembly polls, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Manoj Jha on Monday said it was his personal opinion and not the party’s stand.

Jha added that a proper analysis of the same 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.

Meanwhile, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday constituted three internal committees to “consider and discuss issues and policies related to Economic Affairs, Foreign Affairs and National Security”.

Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh will head all the three committees. “Congress President (Sonia Gandhi) has constituted three committees to consider and discuss issues and policies related to the stated subjects and keep her informed,” AICC stated in a press release. The Committee on Economic Affairs consists of – Dr Manmohan Singh, former finance minister P Chidambaram, former leader of opposition in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Rajya Sabha member Digvijaya Singh and former union minister Jairam Ramesh in the capacity of Convenor.

The Committee on Foreign Affairs consists of – Dr Manmohan Singh, former union ministers Anand Sharma, Shashi Tharoor, Salman Khurshid in the capacity of Convenor and Saptagiri Ulka.

The Committee on National Security consists of – Dr Manmohan Singh, former union minister Veerappa Moily, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, V Vaithilingam and Vincent H Pala in the capacity of Convenor.

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