Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | I.N.D.I.A. bloc made mistakes in ticket distribution in Bihar: CPI(ML)'s Dipankar Bhattacharya

The Left party's leader did not rule out the "Nitish Kumar factor" as also being a reason for the bloc's less than expected returns in the polls.
Last Updated : 22 June 2024, 06:49 IST

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New Delhi: The I.N.D.I.A. bloc's performance in Bihar in the Lok Sabha polls was affected as it made "certain mistakes" there, including in ticket distribution, CPI(ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya has said.

In an interview with PTI editors at the agency's headquarters, the Left party's leader did not rule out the "Nitish Kumar factor" as also being a reason for the bloc's less than expected returns in the polls.

Bihar Chief Minister Kumar's Janata Dal (United) was in an alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal-Congress-Left 'Mahagathbandhan' grouping in Bihar and a constituent of the opposition I.N.D.I.A. bloc, but jumped to the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) just before the 2024 general elections.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation general secretary hoped I.N.D.I.A. bloc members the RJD, the Congress and Left parties, including his CPI(ML), will do better in the assembly polls in the state next year.

While the BJP and its NDA partners JD(U), Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) won 30 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state, the INDIA bloc could get nine. One was won by Independent candidate Pappu Yadav.

The CPI(ML) leader said in Purnia an Independent candidate -- Yadav -- won as the RJD refused to give the seat to the Congress. The CPI(ML) had asked for the Siwan seat but the RJD fought from it and finished third with the JD(U) winning it, said Bhattacharya, whose party won two seats -- Arrah and Karakat.

"Certain mistakes probably had a cascading effect. It affected a number of seats. To give you just one example in Purnia, Pappu Yadav has managed to win the seat. But it's unthinkable that an official candidate of the RJD holds less than 30,000 votes in this kind of a polarised election. The entire party throws the full weight behind that candidate," he said.

Yadav had joined the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, but fought as an Independent after the RJD refused to give the seat to the Congress and fielded Bima Bharti, who could garner only 27,000 votes.

"Probably that has affected a whole number of seats, may be Araria, Supaul and Madhepura," Bhattacharya said.

Likewise, the CPI(ML) had a very legitimate and strong claim on Siwan and "I got the feedback from every source that with an ML candidate in the fray, we could have won Siwan", he said.

"That could have probably ensured a number of seats in the southern commissionary -- Siwan, Chhapra and Maharajganj, may be even Gopalganj. So, these are some mistakes, probably avoidable mistakes, which cost us a few seats (in Bihar)," Bhattacharya said.

"But more than that, I think we have to find out why we again couldn't do well in north Bihar. If you look at the assembly election results, our best performance was in south Bihar. Once again (in the Lok Sabha polls), our best performance has been in south Bihar", he said.

Bhattacharya said but in north Bihar's Mithila, Champaran, Saran and Koshi, "this is where I think, once again, the NDA has done much better". "So, we need to actually look at what really goes wrong there," he said.

Not ruling out the "Nitish Kumar factor", he said while it was expected that the JD(U) or the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) may suffer losses and the BJP will remain unscathed, the results were different. "It is the BJP that has suffered the biggest loss in Bihar," Bhattacharya said.

In the 2024 polls, the BJP fought on 17 seats and won 12, down from 17 in 2019, while the JD(U) contested on 16 seats this time and won 12, down from 16 in 2019.

"So, there are things where almost every pollster, including those who got UP right, didn't get Bihar right. Probably, it is the Nitish Kumar factor," he said.

Asked about the I.N.D.I.A. bloc's expectations in the Bihar assembly polls next year, he said it is hopeful of a good performance.

Bhattacharya pointed out that politics in Bihar is undergoing a generational change.

"So, a lot of work will have to be done to overcome this. Our next election, I do hope. Because Bihar is in a state of transition," he said.

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Published 22 June 2024, 06:49 IST

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