Under attack from Congress leaders for raising concerns about the party's recent performance in the Bihar Assembly polls and the by-elections, P Chidambaram attempted damage control. In a recent interview with a Hindi daily, he observed that Congress contested more seats than its organizational strength in Bihar and called for a comprehensive review of a downturn in the party's electoral fortunes. However, on Friday. he contended that BJP's performance in the country had declined after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
To buttress his point, he provided a comparative analysis of BJP's performance in 464 Assembly segments which it had contested in the 2019 General Election and subsequent Assembly polls and by-polls in India. The senior Congress leader mentioned that BJP had won only in 218 Assembly segments after the Lok Sabha polls as compared to a victory in 392 Assembly segments seen in the 2019 General Election. Pointing out the narrow margin of 0.03% between NDA and Mahagatbandhan in Bihar, Chidambaram opined that 8 extra seats could have propelled the opposition alliance to a victory.
Even after the Bihar Assembly elections, the decline in BJP’s performance after 2019 Lok Sabha elections is visible and significant.— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) November 20, 2020
Of the 464 Assembly segments that the BJP contested both in 2019— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) November 20, 2020
and in subsequent Assembly polls and by polls, the BJP has won only 218 segments.
On the contrary, in 2019 the BJP had won 392 segments— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) November 20, 2020
As I have pointed out the MGB lost to the NDA by a whisker of 0.03 per cent
The elections turned on 8 seats. If the MGB had won 8 more seats, the result would have been 118 to 117 (instead of 110 to 125)— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) November 20, 2020
Significantly, the HAM and VIP won 8 seats!
The 2020 Bihar Assembly election witnessed a voter turnout of 57.05% as against that of 56.66% in the 2015 polls. The polls turned out to be a nail-biting contest with NDA emerging victorious in 125 seats as against that of 110 seats won by the Mahagatbandhan. BJP, RJD, JD(U), Congress won 74, 75, 43, and 19 seats respectively. With 4 seats each, VIP and HAM (S) had a crucial role to play in the ruling alliance breaching the majority mark. Similarly, AIMIM made a huge mark in Bihar politics as 5 of its candidates were declared winners.
Kapil Sibal, one of the 23 senior Congress leaders who had expressed dissatisfaction with the party's leadership, again raised probing questions after the debacle in the Bihar Assembly election and the bypolls. In an exclusive interview with The Indian Express on Monday, he contended that the people of the country "don't consider Congress to be an effective alternative". The former Union Minister alleged that there was a reluctance to address issues within the party as the Congress Working Committee is a "nominated body".
Indicating that Congress leadership is taking it "business as usual" despite the party managing to win only 19 out of the 70 seats in Bihar, the Rajya Sabha MP stressed, "The culture of nominations must go. Elections through nominations will not lead to the desired results. 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."