Updated 17 Novemebr 2020 | 10:54 IST
The Congress’s poor showing in Bihar Assembly polls, as also within the by-elections, have once more triggered a debate on the party’s functioning and therefore the way decisions are being made. a neighbourhood of Congress’s Bihar leadership is pointing fingers at the party’s central leadership, arguing that wrong selection of seats, faulty ticket distribution, and sidelining of local leaders contributed to the downfall, as seen within the results announced Tuesday – the party won 19 seats.
At least two senior Bihar Congress leaders told The Indian Express that central leaders who oversaw the party’s election efforts didn’t take the local leadership into confidence.
There is also unease among many central leaders over the poor performance in by-polls. “Look at the wipe-out in by-elections…but our leadership is in perpetual denial,” a senior leader said.
Stating that “everything went wrong” in Bihar, a senior state leader said, “We accepted wrong seats, ticket distribution wasn’t up to the mark. Leaders imported from Delhi didn’t trust the local leaders…. Delhi se aake aap chunav thodi na jeet sakte hain (you can’t win state elections by coming from Delhi). We didn’t get the seats where we should always have fought.”
This leader said the party had initially decided to contest a minimum of one seat in each district. “But we didn’t have any seat in Bhojpur, Jehananbad, Arwal; while in some districts we fought as many as seven seats.”
Bihar Congress chief Madan Mohan Jha told The Indian Express: “Some of our sitting seats…we had to offer to alliance partners. it’s too early to analyse (but) we are looking into it. We aren’t proud of the results. we’ll call all our candidates to seek out out the issues and why they might not win. we’ll perform an introspection.”
On candidate selection, Jha said, “You know from where tickets are distributed in our party. Everybody’s views and opinions are taken into consideration. anybody individual isn’t responsible – I’m the (state Congress) president, but the president too can’t be absolved (of responsibility). Whether I give the ticket or somebody else gives, I cannot run far away from the responsibility.”
That is why, he said, there’ll be an introspection – to seek out out the issues, (whether) in ticket distribution, campaign, or problems at the workers’ level.”
One leader said, “In the primary phase, we (Grand Alliance) won 47 seats out of 71, and 42 out of 94 seats in the second phase. But within the third phase, we could win only 21 seats out of 78. The third phase was in areas with Muslim-Yadav concentration, but we performed badly….perhaps our messaging to Muslims wasn’t right…”