‘Rahul Gandhi made a mistake by giving poll responsibility to inexperienced leaders sans knowledge of ground situation’.


New Delhi: After the Bihar debacle, questions are being raised over former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and his team. The blame for the Mahagathbandhan’s defeat in the Bihar Assembly polls is being put on the Congress.

The weak strategy of the Congress is said to be behind the Mahagathbandhan stopping just short of the majority mark. It is being said that Rahul Gandhi committed a mistake by giving poll responsibility to sort of inexperienced leaders, who did not have any knowledge of the ground situation.

In the last five years, the Congress could not groom any leader for Bihar, nor could it make its organisation strong enough to take on the ruling coalition. As a result, the Congress took 70 seats from RJD, but could not field strong candidates there. Congress was relying on Tejashwi Yadav and could not, therefore, frame any strategy.

What Rahul Gandhi did was just a customary exercise. He looked to be more concerned about Kerala. He went to Himachal Pradesh for vacation even as Bihar was in the middle of polls. He was also headed for Jaisalmer along with his friends, but he somehow cancelled the trip after the Bihar debacle and saved the party another set of embarrassment.

Rahul Gandhi’s focus has been on targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over one issue or the other, instead of strengthening the party in poll-bound Bihar. Congress plans strategy to hit the streets, but leaders do not work according to the strategy.

Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi planned agitation against alleged exploitation of farmers, Dalits and women only when the Bihar polls were decided, with the result that the entire movement came a cropper.

Informed sources say that all is not well in the Congress. It is even being said that there is some tension between Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. AICC general secretary and in charge of UP, Priyanka Vadra has been unsuccessful in reviving the Congress in the state. The Bihar poll results have come as a shocker more to the Congress than the Tejashwi Yadav-led RJD. Congress may be hoping to do better in West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Assam next year. Kerala gives opportunity to Left parties and Congress to rule alternatively every five years. So, Congress may get its turn next year’s elections in this southern state if nothing unexpected happens. It is banking on DMK in Tamil Nadu. If Tamil Nadu results come on the lines of Bihar, then what will the Congress do?

What should worry Congress is that the BJP has consolidated its position to the extent of gaining a lot in West Bengal polls. Experts say that the saffron surge may sink Mamata Banerjee in Bengal. Congress will be heading downwards then. Questions over the existence of the Congress are already doing the rounds. If the grand old party continues to face defeats like this, then the crisis will deepen. All the 23 disgruntled leaders, who had written to Sonia Gandhi, would not then hesitate to take some decisive steps. If at all the split happens in the party, Rahul Gandhi will not be able to do much. Therefore, the need of the hour is that a non-Gandhi leader should be handed over the Congress’ charge.