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“No Organisational Presence On Ground”: Chidambaram On Congress’ Performance

Chidambaram told newspaper Dainik Bhaskar in an interview that the party may have contested more seats in Bihar than it should have.

Former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram, shortly after Kapil Sibal raised questions over the party’s poor performance on Bihar elections and other bypolls, has now dropped truth bombs on his own party. Chidamabaram said the Bihar election and by-poll results show that the Congress has no organisational presence on the ground or has weakened considerably.

Chidamabaram, who has not been as vocal as some other Congress leaders in regards to the party’s declining electoral performances, told newspaper Dainik Bhaskar in an interview that the party may have contested more seats in Bihar than it should have.

“I am more worried about the by-poll results in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. These results show that the party either has no organisational presence on the ground or has been weakened considerably,” Mr Chidamabaram said.

“In Bihar, the RJD-Congress had a chance of winning. Why we lost despite being so close to victory is something that needs a comprehensive review. Remember, not long ago the Congress had won Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand,” he added.

The Bihar results had proved that even smaller parties like CPI-ML and AIMIM can perform if they are organizationally strong at the grassroots level, said Mr Chidamabaram, adding:  “The opposition alliance can get as many votes as the BJP-led coalition but to beat them, we have to strengthen our organization at the ground level.”

The Congress veteran, when asked about Congress being judged the weakest link in the Tejashwi Yadav-led opposition Mahagathbandhan, said: “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.”

Referring to polls ahead in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Bengal and Assam, Mr Chidambaram said: “Let us see what the results are in these states.”

When asked about Rahul Gandhi calling for a non-Gandhi to lead the party, Mr Chidamaram said:  “I can’t say who will be chosen president in the AICC (All India Congress Committee) meeting. Anyone can contest the polls,” he said.

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