New Delhi: The Congress contested on 70 seats in the Bihar Assembly polls, but could win only 19 seats which led to the failure of the Grand Alliance to reach the magic figure of 122, say party insiders.
The Congress insiders feel that instead of fielding candidates in 70 seats, the party could have contested on a lesser number where it had a strong presence. The local Congress leaders say they have been cautioning the party’s central leaders about directly contesting against the BJP.
The party leaders say that an umbrella alliance would have been better than Congress contesting on more seats and not sharing seats with smaller parties. It was the smaller parties like the HAM and the VIP which have propelled the NDA.
The Congress, however, blames the AIMIM for the defeat and cutting into the votes.
Party leader Adhir Chowdhury had said, “It is Owaisi who is helping the BJP in defeating the secular parties.”
In Seemanchal, where the Grand Alliance could not repeat its performance, the AIMIM won five seats and senior leaders of the Congress — Abdul Jalil Mastan and Tausif Alam — lost to AIMIM candidates.
Congress leader and former Minister Shakiluzzaman Ansari said,”We had told the screening committee chairman Avinash Pandey to give tickets to right candidates, but he did not pay heed.”
The Congress leaders did not work on the ground to strengthen the party and due to Covid also the party could not reach people in time, insiders feel.
The Congress could have proven to be a catapult to the Mahagathbandhan to the power, even if it had repeated the last performance of 27 seats. But the moving out of the RLSP, VIP and the HAM from the Grand Alliance, was not anticipated and while the VIP and the HAM have added eight seats to the NDA kitty.
The opposition Mahagathbandhan ended up with 110 seats, with the Rashtriya Janata Dal winning 75 seats, the Congress 19 and the Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist (Liberation) winning 12. The Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India-Marxist won two seats each.
The remaining seats were divided among Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM which won five, while the Bahujan Samaj Party won one. One Independent was also elected.