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P Chidambaram Attempts Damage Control, Sees Silver Lining In Bihar & Bypoll Results

Under attack from Congress leaders for raising concerns about the party's performance in Bihar polls and by-elections, P Chidambaram attempted damage control.

Written By
Akhil Oka
Chidambaram

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. 

Read: 'Hurt Sentiments Of Party Workers': Gehlot Attacks Sibal, Affirms Faith In Cong Leadership

Read: Karti Echoes Father Chidambaram's Call To Introspect On Congress' Bihar Loss; Backs Sibal

2020 Bihar Assembly polls

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 flags concerns

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."

Read: 'Didn't See His Face In Bihar': Adhir Chowdhury Tears Into Kapil Sibal Over Cong Criticism

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