Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Shivanand Tiwari on Sunday blamed the Congress for dragging down the Mahagathbandhan in the Bihar Assembly elections, ANI reported. Tiwari referred to the Congress as a “shackle” for the alliance and said that party leader Rahul Gandhi was “having a picnic” while the elections were on.

Tiwari said that the Congress did not campaign as actively as it should have. “They had fielded 70 candidates but didn’t hold even 70 public rallies,” the RJD leader told ANI. “Rahul Gandhi came for three days, Priyanka [Gandhi Vadra] didn’t come, those who were unfamiliar with Bihar came here. This is not right.”

The RJD leader went on to criticise Gandhi. “Elections were in full swing here and Rahul Gandhi was having a picnic at Priyankaji’s house in Shimla,” he said. “Is the party run like that? Allegations can be levelled that the manner in which Congress party is being run, it is benefitting BJP.”

Tiwari added that the Congress focused more on the number of seats, rather than winning them. “Congress lays more emphasis on contesting on the maximum possible number of seats but they fail at winning the maximum possible number of seats,” he told the news agency. “Congress should think about this.”

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The RJD leader urged Congress President Sonia Gandhi to address the party’s shortcomings. “At a time in the past when the Congress was slipping, she took reins in her hands and brought it back on track,” Tiwari said. “Now I will request her to find a way, otherwise it will be written in history that it was the weakness that the Congress party showed that led to the strengthening of BJP to this extent.”

Congress leader Tariq Anwar had on Sunday claimed that delay in finalising a seat-sharing agreement hurt the Mahagathbandhan’s prospects. He acknowledged that the results were “definitely below” the Congress’ expectations and said that the high command was serious about an introspection as well as a thorough analysis of the results.

The RJD put up a strong fight in the Assembly polls and emerged as the single-largest party with 75 seats. The Congress won only 19 seats from the 70 that it had contested from. The Left parties put up an impressive performance with 16 wins. The three parties – Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation – had put up candidates in 29 seats. The National Democratic Alliance won the election with 125 seats.