THE OUTCOME of the Bihar assembly elections has come under close scrutiny and various reasons are being attributed for the national democratic alliance retaining power in the state. But there is one factor that would be acknowledged even by the ruling coalition for the defeat of the mahagathbandhan, and that’s the poor showing of the Congress party.
Congress had the poorest strike rate at merely about 25 per cent winning just 19 of the 70 seats contested by it and thus dragging down the chances of mahagatbandhan snatching power from the NDA. It received merely 9.48 per cent of the votes. Shockingly it had threatened to walk out of the mahagathbandhan if its share of seats was not increased from 41 to 70 this time.
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejaswi Yadav must be regretting the day when he succumbed to the Congress pressure. Reports from Bihar indicate that the Congress insisted on putting up candidates from several seats even where it had weak candidates.
There are also reports that those incharge of allocating party tickets indulged in corruption and nepotism leaving the party’s local supporters angry. Instead of putting up quality candidates, it insisted on quantity and thereby dragged the mahagathbandhan to defeat.
The congress leaders should have realised that after dominating the state for 40 years, the party had been out of power in Bihar for over 30 years. It did not make any efforts to build local leadership and it could not have banked on Rahul Gandhi to get votes.
Former union minister Kapil Sibal, who was one of the 23 signatories who had asked for reorganisation of the party last August, has again hit hard on the leadership saying it doesn’t learn lessons.
Some other voices like that of Kartik Chidambaram, son of senior congress leader P Chidambaram, have been raised but the loyalists of gandhi parivar have ensured that these voices get drowned by a cacophony of praises showered on the Gandhi parivar.
There have been several indicators that the party has been in a disarray and has lost the will to fight. It is finding it difficult even to hold on to the states where it had won last year but no serious attempt is being made to rejuvenate the party.
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It has announced elections within the party in six months but indications are that it would “persuade” no other than Rahul Gandhi to take over the presidentship of the party again.
Here it would be interesting to note the remarks made by former United States president Barack Obama.
In his book on the first of his two tenures as president, released on Tuesday under the title, The Promised Land, Obama has paid tributes to former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh but has cast doubts about Rahul Gandhi being able to lead his party.
Obama found that “there was a nervous, unformed quality about him (Rahul), as if he were a student who’d done the coursework and was eager to impress the teacher but deep down lacked either the aptitude or the passion to master the subject.”
He wrote that he was doubtful that Rahul Gandhi would be able to fulfil the destiny “laid out by his mother and preserving the Congress Party’s dominance over the divisive nationalism touted by the BJP.”
It is not only in Bihar that Congress has let down its alliance partners, it had also done so in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. The time for introspection is over and it is high time for a bold move forward to revive the party.
The few voices of dissent are again likely to be drowned by those drumming in favour of the gandhi parivar even if it spells doom for the party. Congress does not realise it has a historic duty to play an important role as the ruling or an opposition party. Unfortunately it is failing on both the fronts.
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