The message from the results of the Bihar Assembly elections and the bypolls in different states coming to the fore now is clear -- the Congress has to come out with a new plan to go to the electorate, as the general trends of the results show that the grand old party has to do much more to counter the BJP.
Despite all the factors favouring the Grand Alliance in Bihar, the Congress is unlikely to repeat its 2015 numbers in the state as per the trends coming in.
In Madhya Pradesh bypolls too, the Congress has faired poorly with the party failing to return to power.
Similarly, the party failed to live up to the expectations in the bypolls in most other states, barring in Haryana where the Congress has won the lone seat in Baroda in Sonepat district, though analysts feel that it is more of a personal victory for party strongman and former Chief Minister of Haryana, Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
The Congress in Bihar fared badly as despite contesting 70 seats, it could not add to the strength of the Grand Alliance. Party insiders say that the Congress needs course correction in taking on the BJP.
It needs to be mentioned here that the dissent group within the Congress had recently written to interim Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, demanding sweeping reforms in the party.
The Congress leaders responsible for the elections in Bihar are silent on the issue of electoral loss, and the spokespersons were left to defend the party post the loss. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi campaigned for four days in Bihar, but could not rally the support behind the party candidates.
Some leaders say that lack of coordination and arrogance on the part of the Grand Alliance led to the defeat, as had the RJD not alienated the smaller groups in the alliance, the Mahagathbandhan could have increased its numbers.
Due to stiff resistance by the RJD on the seat sharing formula, the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP), the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) and the Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) left the alliance and have eaten into the opposition votes by giving edge to the NDA, said a Congress leader who did not wish to be named.
Some Congress insiders feel that contesting 70 seats was a bad decision as the party did not have good candidates in the state.
When RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav was announcing the seat sharing formula in Patna, the VIP had staged a walk out and was later adjusted by the BJP. The smaller parties could have added to the strength of the Grand Alliance.