Delay in finalising seat sharing for Bihar elections adversely impacted the Mahagathbandhan’s poll performance, senior Congress leader Tariq Anwar said on Sunday, adding that the Congress must learn from it and complete alliance formalities well in advance for upcoming Assembly polls.
In an interview with PTI, Anwar said the Bihar poll results were “definitely below” the Congress’ expectations and it was a setback to bag only 19 out of the 70 seats it contested. Anwar, Congress general secretary and veteran leader from Bihar, acknowledged there were shortcomings due to which the party performed worse than other ‘Mahagathbandhan’ constituents. He said the high command was serious about an introspection as well as a thorough analysis of the results.
“There was an environment of change with enthusiasm among the common people for it, but we could not exploit that. We had the expectation that with the Congress fighting on 70 seats, it would win at least 50 per cent of the seats,” the former Union minister said.
Anwar’s comments come amid rumbles in the mahagathbandhan about the Congress dragging the alliance down, and fingers being pointed at Rahul Gandhi. On Sunday, RJD leader Shivanand Tiwari was quoted by ANI as saying: “…Elections were in full swing & Rahul Gandhi was on picnic at Priyanka ji’s place in Shimla. Is a party run like that? Allegations can be levelled that the manner in which Congress is being run, it is benefitting the BJP.”
#WATCH: RJD leader Shivanand Tiwari speaks on #BiharResults, says “…elections were in full swing & Rahul Gandhi was on picnic at Priyanka ji’s place in Shimla. Is party run like that? Allegations can be levelled that manner in which Congress is being run, it’s benefitting BJP.” pic.twitter.com/ZZXmndMJFh
— ANI (@ANI) November 15, 2020
Anwar, who was a member of the Congress’ Bihar poll management committee, told PTI that the top party leadership had given all possible support during the elections, with Rahul Gandhi holding many public meetings in the state.
“But there have been shortcomings on our part, otherwise we should have won 35-40 seats,” he said.
Asked if delay in firming up the Mahagathbandhan alliance and the seat sharing arrangement hurt the poll performance, Anwar said, “Yes, I remember that Rahul ji had said in July itself that we should finish the process of firming up of the alliance and other formalities. Whatever the reason, that did not happen, and there was a lot of delay in finalising the alliance. It was sealed when the election was very near,” he said.
On All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen denting the Mahagathbandhan, Anwar said if any political party wants to contest “we cannot stop them”, but there is a “common understanding” that AIMIM’s role helped the BJP.
“If we would have moved to protect our standing in Seemanchal and carried out our party’s activities early, then AIMIM would not have succeeded there. With the coming of AIMIM, secular parties have certainly been hit,” Anwar said.
Asked if lack of clarity over party presidency was hurting Congress, he said the party’s poll panel under Madhusudan Mistry has already started the process for getting a full-time president.
With PTI inputs
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