West Bengal has 42 Lok Sabha seats and Bihar has 40.
   
The informal group led by party veteran AK Antony had a personal 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 said to the panel that votes were polarized by both Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Trinamool Congress as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Narendra Modi aggressively attacked each other and in result, the Congress suffered badly.
   
The leaders also said to the panel that voters were confused as to whether Congress would align with Trinamool Congress or Left 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 contested Lok Sabha polls in Bihar in alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), which was finalized quite late after Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) joined hands with the BJP-led NDA.
   
The leaders pointed out that had Paswan and Upendra Kushwaha's RLSP remained with the RJD-Congress alliance, the outcome could have been different. There was also a confusion regarding with whom Congress is tying up, RJD or ruling JD-U, in the state.
   
This was the third meeting since Saturday after Antony-led group 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.

(Agencies)

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