Bihar polls: JD(U) assessment says LJP hit its chances in 36-40 seats
A preliminary internal assessment by the ruling Janata Dal (United), or JD(U), identified former ally Lok Janshakti Party (LJP)’s decision to field candidates against it as the biggest factor behind its below-par performance in the recently concluded assembly elections in Bihar, according to a party leader aware of the matter.
While the JD(U) fought 115 of the 243 seats in the state and won just 43 of them, the LJP contested a total of 143 seats, including all those contested by chief minister Nitish Kumar’s party. According to analysts, the LJP, a former constituent of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the state that decided to go it alone, made dent in the JD(U) vote share, though it ended up winning just one seat.
However, the NDA retained power in a close contest, winning 125 seats in the state where the majority mark is 122. The BJP alone won 74 seats while two smaller allies got four each. The opposition alliance of the Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Left parties won 110 seats.
According to the JD(U)’s preliminary assessment, factionism, weak organisation in some places, lack of coordination with the BJP, and a perceived failure to counter the RJD’s promise of a million jobs also played their part in its poor show, said an office-bearer of the party, requesting anonymity.
The party’s senior office-bearers and leaders who interacted with workers as part of the assessment drive got a unanimous view that the LJP hampered JD (U)’s prospect in at least 36-40 seats.
“It damaged us on these seats by ensuring split of the NDA votes. Had this not been the case, JD (U) today would have got no less than 70 seats. The damage was more pronounced in constituencies which went to poll in the first phase of elections,” said a JD (U) functionary, requesting anonymity.
Elections were held in Bihar in three phases (October 28, November 3 and November 7). Results came out on November 10.
The JD (U) won 71 seats in 2015, 115 in 2010 and 88 in 2005.
The JD(U) leader, involved in the assessment, said the party has taken the outcome as a wake-up call with its state president, Bashistha Narain Singh, setting his eyes on revamping the state unit.
“The party might go for an organisational revamp soon,” said the senior leader.
The assessment found that a section of disgruntled leaders, particularly those who did not get tickets, as acted against party’s interest and that the JD(U) leadership failed to neutralise their influence.
“Action will be also taken against more leaders who worked against party’s interest,” the leader said.
Another reason pointed out during the review was the weak organisational structure at ground level. “All along it was claimed that the JD (U) has a strong ground level organisation, but this was not seen at several assembly seats,” said the JD (U) leader.
Several party workers also complained about lack of co-ordination between the BJP and JD(U), according to XXX.