Bharatiya Janata Party leader Suvendu Adhikari on Sunday blamed overconfidence within the party ranks for its defeat in the West Bengal Assembly elections, PTI reported. Speaking at party meeting in Chandipur area of Purba Medinipur district, Adhikari said that party leaders set targets, but did not work towards achieving them.

“As we did well in the first two phases of polls, many of our leaders became smug and overconfident,” he said. “They started believing that the BJP will secure 170-180 seats in the elections, but they did not do the groundwork. This cost us dearly.”

In the West Bengal Assembly elections, held in eight phases in March-April, the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress came to power for a third consecutive term winning 213 of the 294 seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party managed to secure only 77 constituencies. This was despite a high-profile campaign from the saffron party that saw several top leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, making repeated claims that the BJP would win over 200 seats.

Adhikari, however, could flaunt a personal success as he defeated Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in the Nandigram constituency. Once a trusted lieutenant of Banerjee, Adhikari defected from the Trinamool Congress and joined the BJP months ahead of the elections.

Meanwhile, reacting to Adhikari’s comment on Sunday, Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh accused him of “living in a fool’s paradise”.

“Why is he finding fault with others?” Ghosh asked, speaking to PTI. “Didn’t Suvendu also boast repeatedly that his party will get 180 seats at least? Actually, they don’t know the pulse of Bengal, Trinamool does.”

The Trinamool Congress leader credited social welfare projects introduced by Banerjee for the party’s win in the elections.