AICC special panel may discuss Bihar debacle and internal rumors | India News
Sources said the committee is likely to discuss the Bihar elections and the poor performance of Congress, where it won 19 of the 70 seats it contested, as part of the RJD-led opposition alliance, among other issues. The panel, assigned to deliberate on the party’s day-to-day affairs to assist the chief, was formed as part of the AICC shakeup in September after a stormy CWC meeting discussing the controversial letter from 23 senior leaders who questioned the drift in the organization and demand of elections for the office of party president in addition to advocating for collective leadership.
After a brief hiatus, former telecommunications minister Kapil Sibal once again attacked the leaders for being in denial and demanded that the party accept that it is in decline and take the help of experienced leaders to devise a recovery strategy. The ranks of disgruntled leaders appear to be growing as of August, when the G-23 letter was sent. On Monday, Karti Chidambaram, the son of P Chidambaram and an MP from Lok Sabha, backed Sibal’s comments by tweeting that it was time for Congress to “introspect, devise, consult and act.” A G-23 member and Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha also supported Sibal saying it was an attempt to “save democracy” by saving Congress. “The time to act is now or tomorrow may be too late,” Tankha said.
However, Rajasthan’s chief minister Ashok Gehlot criticized Sibal saying: “It was not necessary for Sibal to mention our internal problem in the media, this has hurt the feelings of party workers across the country.”
While staying true to his personal views, RJD leader Shivanand Tiwari’s comments about Rahul Gandhi’s lazy campaign and Congress’s propensity to seek more seats than it can offer were reminders that allies can see the party as a drag rather than as a multiplier of forces.
Sibal said that the elections in Bihar, as well as the by-elections in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, show that the Congress as an alternative was rejected by the voters. He said the time for introspection was over and solutions were known and that leadership should convene a discussion with experienced leaders to implement corrections for revival. He chided the party for continuing as usual and warned that the decline will continue if not addressed.
Sibal said the G-23 letter was not to the liking of the leadership, who instead of taking it as constructive criticism and calling for a discussion, used it to attack letter writers.
A member of the dissident group said that senior Madhya Pradesh leaders were upset with the way things were being handled in the party, as were some in Punjab. “More and more people are communicating with us,” he said.
If their ranks increase, a vocal call, if not another letter, may be heard in the coming weeks for a CWC meeting or for a special discussion to address their concerns. “Introspection and discussion with us is essential,” said a former UPA minister.
The AICC declined to react to Sibal’s comments. However, the congressional leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that it was inappropriate to blame the leaders for every defeat and that the dissident leaders should present constructive suggestions in the party forums.
“It would have been better if they had tried to go and help the candidates or the party in the states where the elections were held,” he said.