New Delhi: Communal polarisation and confusion on alliance led to defeat of Congress in West Bengal and Bihar in the Lok Sabha polls, leaders from the two states told a high-level panel, which met them to find out the reasons for the party`s worst-ever debacle.
West Bengal has 42 Lok Sabha seats and Bihar 40.
The informal group led by party veteran AK Antony had a one to one meeting with all the Lok Sabha election candidates from the two states, their PCC chiefs and CLP leaders besides other important functionaries.
West Bengal leaders told the panel that votes were polarised by both BJP and Trinamool Congress as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Narendra Modi aggressively attacked each other and Congress suffered badly in between.
The leaders also told the panel that there was confusion in the minds of voters as to whether Congress will align with Trinamool Congress or Left post elections and hence they did not vote for it.
Among the leaders from Bihar, who met the panel are former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and former Kerala Governor Nikhil Kumar, who lost from Sasaram and adjacent Aurangabad seats respectively.
Congress had fought Lok Sabha polls in Bihar in alliance with RJD, which was finalised quite late after Ram Vilas Paswan`s LJP switched sides and joined the NDA camp.
The leaders pointed out that had Paswan and Upendra Kushwaha`s RLSP remained with the RJD-Congress alliance, the scene could have been different. There was also confusion for a longer time on whether Congress is tying up with RJD or ruling JD-U in the state.
This was the third meeting since Saturday of the Antony-led group, which began consultation with state leaders to find out the reasons for the defeat and corrective measures. The informal panel has so far met leaders from Delhi, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal and Bihar.