"The party collectively wins or loses elections," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said during an interaction with the media after the BJP's parliamentary board meeting here following the party's poor performance in Bihar.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spearheaded the election campaign and addressed 26 rallies in Bihar where the Bharatiya Janata Party-led alliance managed to win just 58 of the total 243 seats in the assembly. Replying to a question, Jaitley refuted Bhagwat's remark on reservation had a potential impact on the elections result for the BJP alliance."No election is decided on one statement. It is a different kind of mathematics," Jaitley said.

He said the party, since the Mandal Commission, had accepted the concept of reservation on social consideration and the same was the stand of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). BJP MP Hukumdev Narayan Yadav and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi held Bhagwat's comments, favouring a review of the country's policy of quota for the backward castes, responsible for the party's fate.

"Mohan Bhagwat's comment at the time of election filled the backward castes and Dalits with mistrust for the BJP. People showed their faith in PM Modi... they came in thousands at his rallies, but the RSS chief's comments shook people to the core," Yadav told the media.

Meanwhile, Jaitley said his party respects the people's mandate in Bihar and promised to play the role of constructive opposition to enable the new government fulfill people's aspirations."We accept the challenge, will play the role of opposition in Bihar," he said. He said the party underestimated the political arithmetic of the Grand Alliance of the Janata Dal-United, RJD and the Congress and described their grand unity as the reason for the NDA's loss in Bihar.

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

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