‘Contested Too Many Seats’: After Sibal, It’s Chidambaram’s Turn

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that those criticising the party can join some other.

4 min read
P Chidambaram suggested that the Congress party might have contested more seats in the state than it should have.

Joining senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal in criticism of his own party, former finance minister P Chidambaram, in an interview to newspaper Dainik Bhaskar, said that the Bihar elections and the by-election results indicate that the Congress party either has zero organisational presence on the ground or that it has weakened considerably.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury reportedly said that those criticising the Congress can join some other party or start a new one instead of indulging in "embarrassing activities”.

Cong Contested More Seats Than it Should Have: Chidambaram

P Chidambaram suggested that the Congress party might have contested more seats in the state than it is should have.

"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,” said Chidambaram.

“In Bihar, the RJD-Congress had a chance of winning. Why we lost despite being so close to victory is something that needs comprehensive review. Remember, not long ago the Congress had won Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.”   

On being asked about the Congress being considered the weakest link in the Tejaswi Yadav-led Mahagathbandhan, the former finance minister 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.”   

Chidamabaram also spoke about upcoming polls in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Bengal and Assam and said: "Let us see what the results are in these states.”

On being asked about Rahul Gandhi’s call for a non-Gandhi to lead the party, Chidambaram said:

“I can’t say who will be chosen president in the AICC (All India Congress Committee) meeting. Anyone can contest the polls.”   

‘Join Another Party Or Start Your Own’: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury

Asking critics of the party to join another or start their own, post Sibal’s remarks, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also said that “such leaders” were close to the Gandhis and were free to raise issues with them, reported NDTV.

“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.”   
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, according to NDTV   

Further, the senior Chowdhury, according to NDTV, said that such leaders should not indulge in such “embarrassing sweeping statements”.

“They enjoy proximity to the Gandhi family. They can raise issues before the party leadership or in the right party forum," Chowdhury said.

Chowdhury also asked where these leaders were during the Bihar polls, according to NDTV.

“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.”   
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury   

Sibal’s Criticism

Kapil Sibal, in an interview to The Indian Express, spoke on several topics including Bihar election result and Congress’ performance in the bypolls. When asked about the party’s performance, the Congress leader told The Indian Express that the public does not consider Congress an effective alternative.

Sibal had also said that the Congress party has refused to recognise the answers to the problems it finds itself in, while adding that the party was “in a sorry state of affairs” that has lead to its ‘decline.’

“I am a Congressman and will remain a Congressman and hope and pray that the Congress provides the alternative to a power structure which has subverted all the values that the nation stands for.”   

No Time for Aimless Introspection: Khurshid, Post Sibal’s Remarks

A day after senior Congress leader and notable Supreme Court lawyer Kapil Sibal expressed dismay over the grand old party being in a state of ‘decline’, Salman Khurshid, Sibal’s colleague both in the party and in the courts, remarked that leaders who take victories for granted, but bite their nails when it underperforms may have “little of the nails left for future disappointments.”

In a long Facebook post, Khurshid on Tuesday, 17 November, reminded party colleagues who suffer from ‘periodic pangs of anxiety’ of a particular quote of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor in India.

“When I was ignorant about my own self, I kept on finding faults in other people. When I looked at my own mistakes, then in my view nobody seemed to be evil.”   
Bahadur Shah Zafar   

Khurshid also warned against what he called was “aimless introspection.”

“So the constant refrain of some persons should not be of aimless introspection but for reaffirmation of fundamental principles we believe in. If we are explicitly or implicitly willing to compromise with our principles to regain power we might as well pack up our bags.”   
Salman Khurshid   

Gehlot’s Objection to Sibal’s Remarks

Rajasthan Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot on Monday raised objections to Congress leader Kapil Sibal’s comments on the party’s performance in the Bihar polls and said that his remarks had hurt the “sentiments of party workers across the country.”

Taking to Twitter, Gehlot defended the Congress, which he said was “the only party which can keep this Nation united and take it forward on the path of comprehensive development.”

“Congress has seen various crises including 1969, 1977, 1989 and later in the 1996 – but every-time we came out stronger due to our ideology, programmes, policies and firm belief in party leadership.”   
Ashok Gehlot   

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