Patna: Two days after the Mahagathbandhan lost a close battle in the Bihar Assembly Elections, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav on Thursday demanded a recount in 20 seats. Tejashwi asked why returning officers cancelled postal ballot by the hundreds. “We demand a recount in at least 20 seats,” he said.
In his first press conference after the results, the RJD leader questioned the existence of postal ballots, asking what the use for them was if they were “cancelled”.
In the last two days, RJD leaders have accused the Chief Minister’s Office of involvement in the polling process. They have alleged that the CMO directed district magistrates across Bihar to manipulate postal ballots and defeat Grand Alliance candidates, particularly those from the RJD.
RJD MLAs elected Tejashwi Yadav as the leader of the RJD legislative party on Thursday, following which a joint meeting of all the allies – RJD, Congress and Left parties – was held, which was addressed by Tejashwi. “The mandate was in favour of the Grand Alliance, it was for change. However, the NDA managed to manipulate the process and will form the government. Nitish Kumar mein naitikta nahi bachi hai, agar thodi bhi naitikta bachi hai to unhe kursi chodh dena chahiye (Nitish Kumar has no morals left; if there is any left he should vacate the CM’s chair),” he said.
Tejashwi announced a Dhanyavad Yatra to reach out to the people who backed his agenda of employment and joblessness in the state. The 32-year-old, who was the chief ministerial candidate of the Grand Alliance in the election campaign, is likely to be elected leader of the Grand Alliance legislative party soon.
Meanwhile, the Congress came under fire for its ‘poor performance’ in the polls. After senior Congress leader Tarique Anwar said so, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattachrya blamed the party for the alliance’s defeat in a close fight.
Though the RJD emerged as the single-largest party in Bihar with 75 seats, the Grand Alliance missed the bus after falling short by a few seats. The ruling NDA won 125 seats.
The CPI (ML) leader said that the Congress’ strike rate in the elections was very poor; the party contested in 70 assembly seats and won only 19 seats. “It is clear now that if the RJD and the Left parties had contested some seats in place of the Congress, we could have won more (seats),” he said.
The performance of Left parties exceeded expectations, with the CPI (ML) winning 12 seats and the CPI (M) and CPI winning two seats each. The Left parties contested in 29 seats and won 16 seats. On the other hand, the Congress performed poorly, despite the resource-gap between the parties.
In a series of tweets on Thursday, Congress general secretary Tarique blamed his own party for the defeat. “We must accept the truth that our performance was poor, RJD and Left parties performed better than us. If we had performed like them, there would have been a Grand Alliance government in Bihar. The people of Bihar wanted change. AIMIM's entry into Bihar is not a good sign (sic),” he tweeted.
Tarique stressed on the need for introspection and a review of the performance.
Earlier, another Congress leader, former MLA Rishi Mishra, blamed ticket distribution by Bihar Congress President Madan Mohan Jha for the party’s showing. Mishra has asked the party high command to rescue the Congress in the state by removing Jha, who he deemed “incapable”.
However, senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP, Akhilesh Singh, tried to downplay the matter, saying that the party was allocated seats it couldn’t win.
The Congress has been blaming Asadauddin Owaisi’s AIMIM for its losses in the Muslim-dominated Seemanchal region of Bihar. AIMIM won five seas for the first time, a big set back for the Grand Alliance.