Patna: Over a month after the Bihar Assembly poll outcome, Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav on Monday blamed sabotage from within or inside the party for the defeat despite performing better than expected and emerging as the largest party.
The RJD leader refrained from blaming ally Congress for the defeat for the Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance), as was widely reported soon after the poll outcome when the alliance missed the bus by a narrow margin to form the government last month.
Yadav also asked party leaders and workers to be ready for possible mid-term Assembly polls in 2021.
“We lost polls not due to front rivals. It was due to bhitarghat (sabotage from within),” Tejashwi said at a review meeting with the party leaders, including the 74 newly elected MLAs and those who were defeated by a narrow margin.
He said RJD chief Lalu Prasad has given him a free hand to take action against party leaders who were involved in sabotage that led to the defeat of some party candidates.
Yadav said sabotage from inside the party had not benefited anyone. Defeat in polls is a direct loss to the party, its leaders and workers, who would have got one or other post had the party formed the government, he added.
The RJD leader said the party has contested the polls on issues like rozgar (unemployment) that attracted a large number of people, mainly youths. “Our main agenda was employment and joblessness,” he said, adding that now the party had to work with “new zeal” to widen its network.
Tejashwi Yadav called for suggestions and advice in writing from those who won polls and those defeated to prepare the party for future.
Some RJD leaders alleged they were “deliberately defeated” by the administration on orders from the top. ”I and over a dozen RJD candidates in polls were defeated by the administration, as we were leading and winning the polls but in last minute were informed that we were defeated,”said Ritu Jaiswal, an RJD candidate who lost polls from Parihar seat.
Some other RJD leaders also questioned why the returning officers cancelled postal ballots by hundreds, something which has never happened before.
However, a senior party leader and former minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui directly blamed party polling agents at booths. ”Our party polling agents delayed reaching the booth .It badly affected the party’s prospects”, he said.
Other senior party leaders like Brishen Patel said that absence of Lalu Prasad during the election campaign had cost the party.
In the Assembly polls held last month, 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 as it got 110 seats. The ruling NDA won 125 seats.
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 29 seats and won 16 seats. On the other side, the Congress performed poorly and managed to win only 19 seats of the 70 contested.