The Congress’s big mistake in Bihar was to choose the wrong seats to contest, a top leader in charge of the party’s campaign in the state said today in the middle of a bitter back-and-forth on the election defeat.
Akhilesh Prasad Singh, owning responsibility for the Bihar defeat, said he had sought an appointment with Rahul Gandhi to discuss the way ahead.
“The Congress’s choice of seats was wrong. There should have been deeper analysis before the decision but finally, the party acted in haste,” Mr Singh told NDTV.
“I accept responsibility for the Bihar election loss. I have asked to meet Rahul Gandhi. I will tell him that there is a need to tackle weaknesses in the organization and make it sharper,” he said.
He said Congress needed to bring in massive changes in the organization to win any state election. “There are weaknesses in the party, especially in the block and district level,” said the Congress leader.
This is the latest assessment to emerge in the Congress’s public squabbling over the Bihar debacle.
It started with Kapil Sibal, in an interview to the Indian Express, reviving a call for major organizational changes to arrest the Congress party’s decline and calling for “experienced minds, experienced hands and those who understand political realities” to bring transformation.
Another former Union Minister, P Chidambaram, remarked that the Bihar and by-poll results showed the Congress either had no organizational presence on the ground or had weakened considerably.
Mr Chidambaram had also pointed at the wrong choice of seats. “I feel the Congress contested more seats than its organizational strength. The Congress was given 25 seats where the BJP or its allies had been winning for 20 years. The Congress should have refused to contest from these seats. The party should have fielded only 45 candidates (instead of 70),” he had told the Dainik Bhaskar.
Akhilesh Prasad Singh, responding to the comments, said: “I respect Kapil Sibal. He is a knowledgeable politician. But it is not right to give such analysis about defeat after the results.”
The Congress is confronting attacks from allies and scathing post-mortems after its poor tally in Bihar was blamed for the opposition falling a few seats short of victory. The party also failed to score in crucial by-elections, especially in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and UP.