Bihar verdict is BJP’s collective loss: Jaitley

New Delhi, Nov 9 (IANS) Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday, in an apparent bid to defend Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the BJP’s defeat in the assembly poll in Bihar, said the party as a whole wins or loses elections.

“The party collectively wins or loses elections,” Jaitley said.

His remark came during an interaction with the media after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s parliamentary board meeting here following the party’s poor performance in the Bihar assembly elections.

The prime minister had spearheaded the election campaign of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and addressed 26 rallies in Bihar where its alliance managed to win just 58 of the total 243 seats in the assembly.

Jaitley said his party respects the people’s mandate in Bihar and promised to play the role of a constructive opposition to enable the new government fulfil people’s aspirations.

“We accept the challenge, will play the role of opposition in Bihar,” he said.

Jaitley said the party had underestimated the political arithmetic of the Grand Alliance of the Janata Dal-U, Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress.

“The main cause of our defeat in Bihar is the coming together of the opponents. We had thought ‘mahagathbandhan’ would not be able to consolidate their votes as a front. This view turned out to be wrong,” Jaitley said.

He accepted the fact that vote transferability was better in the Grand Alliance as compared to the NDA.

“Our assumption that the three parties of the Grand Alliance wouldn’t be able to transfer their votes fully was wrong,” the BJP leader said.

Jaitley refuted that Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat’s remark on reservation had a potential adverse impact on the BJP-led NDA’s election result.

“No election is decided on one statement. It is a different kind of mathematics,” he said, adding that the party had since the Mandal Commission accepted the concept of reservation on social consideration and the same was the stand of the RSS.

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