Bihar poll rout exposes deep divisions within the Congress

On Wednesday, former Union finance minister P Chidambaram also raised doubts over the party's organisational capacity

New Delhi: The Congress’ recent electoral debacle in Bihar has further brought out the discord within the party with leaders now publicly hitting out at each other and some even asking others to quit, “set up a new party or join any other party”.

West Bengal unit chief of the Congress and Lok Sabha MP Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary on Wednesday, reacting to Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal’s comments after the results of bypolls and Bihar Assembly elections, said, "If some leaders think that Congress is not the right party for them then they may set up a new party or can join any other party which they think is progressive and according to their interest. But they should not indulge in such embarrassing activities since it can erode the credibility of the Congress."

"If such leaders are serious about revamping the Congress Party, then they should try to prove their mettle on the ground. Did they volunteer to work for the party during the recent Bihar elections?”

On Wednesday, former Union finance minister P. Chidambaram also raised doubts over the party’s organisational capacity. In an interview to a daily he said,"I feel the Congress contested more seats than its organisational strength. The Congress was given 25 seats where the BJP or its allies had been winning for 20 years. The Congress should have refused to contest from these seats. The party should have fielded only 45 candidates."

"I am more worried about the bypoll 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 said.

Interestingly, Mr Chidambaram was not among the 23 leaders who wrote to the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, in August this year demanding changes in the functioning of the party.

Earlier this week Mr Sibal, who was signatory to the August letter, spoke about the inability of the party to change. He said that it has been six long years now and the time for introspection is over, it’s now time for action. He further added that people do not see the Congress as an alternative and yet no action is being taken to correct this.

The disastrous election results have once again opened the Pandora’s box on the functioning of the Congress and has aggravated the demand for a democratic change within the party.

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