Gehlot Objects to Sibal’s Comments on Cong’s Performance in Bihar

“If for six years, the Congress has not introspected, what hope do we have for introspection now?” Sibal said.

4 min read
File image of Congress leader Kapil Sibal.

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,” Gehlot wrote on Twitter.

Only Alternative in Bihar is RJD: Sibal

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.

The Congress managed to bag only 19 seats out of 70 in the Bihar elections, proving to be the weakest link in Mahagathbandhan. The party has also disappointed in the bypolls that were held across states.

Sibal said that the alternative in Bihar was Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

“We lost all the by-elections in Gujarat. Even in the Lok Sabha elections, we had not won a single seat there. In some of the constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress candidates in the by-elections notched up less than 2 percent of the votes cast,” Sibal told The Indian Express.

“A colleague of mine who is a part of the CWC made a statement the other day that “I hope the Congress introspects,” the senior Congress leader stated.

Congress Didn’t Introspect in Six Years: Sibal

Sibal says that the time for introspection for the party is over.

“If for six years, the Congress has not introspected, what hope do we have for introspection now?”

“We know what is wrong with Congress. Organisationally, we know what is wrong. I think we have all the answers. The Congress party itself knows all the answers,” Sibal told the Indian Express.

He says that the party is not willing to recognise the answers, and till the time it does not address the problems, performance graph will only decline.

“That is the sorry state of affairs that the Congress is in and that is what we are concerned about,” Indian Express quoted Sibal as saying.

When the senior Congress leader was asked about the leadership’s failure to address the internal issues, Sibal said that the reluctance to face the issue is due to the Congress Working Committee (CWC).

“CWC is a nominated body, democratic processes must be adopted and embraced even in the constitution of the CWC, which is reflected in the provisions of the Congress’ constitution itself,” says Sibal.


On Letter Sent to Congress Leadership

Kapil Sibal said that one cannot expect nominated members to question or raise concern over the party’s inner issues.

This is the major reason behind the decline of the Congress in every election.

A letter was written by Kapil Sibal and 22 other Congress leaders to Congress President Sonia Gandhi in August this year.

The Congress leaders had asked about changes in the party, arguing that the party’s revival is “a national imperative”.

Sibal said that there hasn’t been any discussion with the party’s leadership since the issues were brought up. Sibal further stated that since no talks have been held, he cannot express his thoughts publicly.

Congress Not Seen as Effective Alternative: Sibal

“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,” Sibal told The Indian Express.

The senior leader said that in Bihar, Congress has not been an effective alternative for a very long time. He further said that in Uttar Pradesh, Congress has not been an alternative in more than 25 years.

“Even in Gujarat, where we are the alternative in the absence of a third force… we lost all the Lok Sabha seats and in the present by-elections, we have not been able to score at all… So obviously the people of Gujarat do not consider us an effective alternative,” said Sibal.

BJP won 20 by-poll seats in In Madhya Pradesh and eight seats in Gujarat.


On Party Discourse

Speaking on the nomination process in the CWC, the Congress leader stated that the party needs to recognise the shortcomings.

“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,” Sibal told The Indian Express.

Kapil Sibal said that change can be brought with discussions. Sibal believes that even if the discussion in the party might not produce the desired result, at least it will lead to rejuvenating the Congress for 2024 Lok Sabha elections.


AIMIM Will Become a Spoiler: Sibal

Sibal said that for the Congress to rise again the nature of the campaigning should change.

Bringing up the role of mainstream media in the elections, Sibal said: “The mainstream media is controlled by the ruling party. So we need to discover a new mechanism to reach out to the people,” quoted The Indian Express.

Sibal says that the Congress is doing fine on social media platforms.

Speaking on AIMIM’s performance in Bihar, Sibal said that at some point the party will become a spoiler.

“I don’t want to comment on other parties. The fact of the matter is even when we put up candidates we should do it in consultation with our alliance partners so we know who to put up and our votes don’t get polarised,” Sibal told The Indian Express.

Need to Introspect: Karti

Congress MP Karti Chidambaram too tweeted on Monday saying that it was time for the party to “introspect, ideate, consult and act” in light of its poor performance in the Bihar elections.

Chidambaram was responding to a tweet by Sibal about his interview.

(With inputs from The Indian Express)

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