Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) leader Shivanand Tiwari on Sunday criticised the Congress after the latter’s poor performance in the just-concluded Bihar Assembly elections, alleging that the manner in which the grand old party is being run is benefitting the BJP and that it is bringing down its allies.
The BJP-JDU’s alliance in Bihar just about managed a majority, winning 125 seats in the House where the halfway mark is 122. The RJD-Congress-CPI(ML) ‘Mahagathbandhan’ won 110 seats. While the RJD is the single largest party in the house with 75 seats, the Congress finished with a paltry 19.
Tiwari said that the Congress has become a “shackle” for the ‘Mahagathbanthan’ as the party chose candidates unfamiliar with Bihar politics to contest elections. “They had fielded 70 candidates but didn’t hold even 70 public rallies. Rahul Gandhi came for three days, Priyanka (Gandhi) didn’t come, those who were unfamiliar with Bihar came here. This is not right,” news agency ANI quoted him as saying.
Tiwari alleged former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were taking part in a picnic when elections were in full swing in Bihar. “Elections were in full swing here and Rahul Gandhi was having a picnic at Priyanka ji’s house in Shimla. Is the party run like that? Allegations can be levelled that the manner in which Congress party is being run, it is benefitting BJP,” he said.
Tiwari said the issues with the Congress are not exclusive to Bihar, but their reflection can be seen in other states as well. “In other states too, the Congress lays more emphasis on contesting on the maximum possible number of seats but they fail at winning the maximum possible number of seats. The Congress should think about this,” he said.
Tiwari said senior Congress leaders such as Kapil Sibal, Shashi Tharoor, Manish Tiwari and Mukul Wasnik had also expressed concerns over the handling of the party in a meeting.
“We needn’t have come under the pressure to give even 70 seats to the Congress. The Congress too was aware that it may not be able to perform well as the seats weren’t easy ones, yet we were unable to talk tougher to the party,” an RJD leader, on condition of anonymity, had earlier confessed.
Tariq Anwar, Congress general secretary and a veteran leader from Bihar, earlier also acknowledged that there were shortcomings due to which the Congress performed worse than other ‘Mahagathbandhan’ constituents and asserted that the high command was serious about an introspection as well as a thorough analysis of the results.
Anwar, who was a member of the party’s election management committee, said there should be an introspection and “we have also demanded that it should happen”. He said the high command was ready for an introspection and stressed the top leadership had given all possible support during the polls with Rahul Gandhi also holding many public meetings in the state.