New Delhi | Jagran Politics Desk: The unending poll fiasco of the Congress, which continued in the Bihar Assembly election and the bypolls in 11 states, has led to infighting within the party which is now out in open.

Following the dismal poll performance, some senior leaders have once again questioned the Congress leadership, evoking a strong reaction from the loyalists, who have maintained that “those unhappy with the party are free to leave”.

First among the senior party leaders to go public against the party leadership, Kapil Sibal sought “action and introspection” in the party. He stressed that party needs thoughtful leadership which can be more articulate take things forward.

Sibal was part of a group of 23 senior Congress leaders who had written to party chief Sonia Gandhi in August, giving suggestions on ways to revive the grand old party.

Sibal’s remarks found immediate support from Congress Rajya Sabha member Vivek Tankha who called for immediate action, before it is too late. Party MP from Sivaganga Karti Chidambaram also backed Sibal’s demand of introspection.

Further leaving the party leadership red-faced, senior leader P Chidambaram said that that the Bihar election and by-poll results showed that the party has no organisational presence on the ground or has weakened considerably.

Congress Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, along with senior party members Ashok Gehlot and Salman Khurshid, took the critics head with Chowdhury saying that those unhappy with the party's functioning are free to leave instead of embarrassing it in public.

Chowdhury stung Sibal for "giving sermons from AC rooms" and said disgruntled members may join other parties or float their own outfits.

Wondering why Sibal was not seen campaigning for the Congress during the Bihar elections, the party's West Bengal chief said, "Speaking without doing anything doesn't mean introspection."

"Kapil Sibal could have raised the issues inside a party forum instead of making such embarrassing remarks in public. He is a senior leader and has access to the party's top brass.

"Those who are unhappy with the functioning of the party have the freedom to form a new party or join one if they feel that the Congress is not the right place for them," Chowdhury, a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), he said.

Apart from Chowdhury, other senior Congress leaders have also lashed out at those calling for introspection.

Earlier, Rajasthan Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot had criticised Sibal, saying his statements had hurt the sentiments of party workers across the country.

Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid has termed the party colleagues calling for introspection as "doubting Thomases" and said they suffer from periodic pangs of anxiety. "When we do well, admittedly somewhat infrequently, they take it for granted. But when we underperform, not even do badly, they are quick to bite their nails," Khurshid said in a Facebook post.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta