Old Rivals Lalu-Nitish Checkmate BJP in Bihar Bypolls

Old Rivals Lalu-Nitish Checkmate BJP in Bihar Bypolls
File- PTI Photo
Old Rivals Lalu-Nitish Checkmate BJP in Bihar Bypolls

Rebonding of old rivals Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar today checkmated BJP's march in Bihar with the secular alliance winning 6 of the 10 Assembly seats where bye-elections were held on August 21.

The remaining four seats were won by BJP, the Election Commission said here.

In 2010 Assembly poll, BJP had won 6 of the 10 seats which went to polls, while RJD was victorious on 3 and JD(U) in 1.

This time, BJP won Narkatiaganj, Hajipur, Banka and Mohania (SC) seats.

RJD of Lalu Prasad was victorious in Rajnagar (SC), Chapra and Mohiuddinagar. Ruling JD(U) won in Jale and Parbatta, while Congress wrested Bhagalpur from BJP.

In Banka, BJP candidate Ramnarayan Mandal defeated his nearest RJD rival Iqbal Hussain Ansari by a slender margin of 711 votes.

The outcome of the bypoll would not have much impact on health of Jitan Ram Manjhi ministry as it already enjoys support of 145 MLAs in the 243-member House.

The outcome of the bye-elections has infused new energy in JD(U), RJD and Congress in the state after they received severe drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls.

BJP in company of LJP and RLSP of Union minister Upendra Kushwaha had won 31 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar.

RJD which had fought with Congress and NCP had won 7, while JD(U) which went solo had managed only 2 seats in the wake of "Modi wave."

The bypoll results threw some surprises. BJP which had won Narktiaganj, Jale, Chapra, Hajipur, Mohiuddinagar and Bhagalpur in 2010, lost Chapra and Mohiuddinagar to RJD and Bhagalpur to Congress in the bye-election.

BJP, however, won Banka and Mohania (SC) seats from RJD and JD(U) in the bypoll.

In Narkatiaganj in West Champaran district, BJP's Rashmi Varma defeated Fakruddin Khan of Congress by 15,742 votes. Varma, who is kin of first President Rajendra Prasad, was first considered for contest by JD(U) but after the seat went to Congress, she contested on a BJP ticket and won.

RJD gained from joining hands with Nitish Kumar which checked division of votes against BJP. In Chapra where former Chief Minister Rabri Devi had lost recent Lok Sabha poll to Rajiv Pratap Rudy, RJD candidate Randhir Singh defeated his nearest rival C N Gupta (Ind) by 24,106 votes.

Denied BJP ticket, Gupta had contested the bypoll as an Independent. BJP had fielded Kankiah Singh from Chapra and he finished third.

In Mohiuddinagar in Samastipur district, RJD's Ajay Kumar Bulgania trounced BJP's Rajesh Kumar Singh by 21,530 votes.

JD(U) candidate Ramanandan Prasad Singh registered victory with highest margin of 56,990 votes in the bypoll defeating his nearest rival Suheli Mehta of LJP.

Among NDA allies BJP had contested 9 seats, LJP had got one seat - Parbatta. Rashtriya Loktantrik Samata Party (RLSP) of Union minister Upendra Kushwaha had drawn blank in the seat-sharing.

In the secular alliance, RJD and JD(U) had contested four seats each while Congress had fielded candidates on two seats.

A low 47 per cent voting in the August 21 bypoll had created suspense about the outcome of the bye-election. But, the results today proved "Mandal forces" represented by Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar has managed to halt journey of "Kamandal" (BJP).

Expressing satisfaction over "experiment" in the bypoll results, an elated Nitish Kumar said they would try to further strengthen it in future for better outcome.

The mood in BJP, LJP and RLSP offices was subdued.

Congress benefited from the alliance as its candidate Ajeet Kumar Sharma won from Bhagalpur by 17,229 votes. BJP had been winning Bhagalpur seat continuously since 1990. Its leader Ashwani Choubey had vacated this seat after being elected to Lok Sabha from Buxar constituency.

In Hajipur, which is part of the Lok Sabha constituency of LJP chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, BJP candidate Awdesh Singh won by a margin of 6,127 votes over his nearest JD(U) competitor Rajinder Roy. BJP's victory margin there in 2010 was over 20,000 votes.

The outcome in Hajipur could have been different had rebel JD(U) candidate Dev Kumar Chaursia not entered the fray as an Independent against official nominee Rajinder Roy. Chaurasia secured 21,000 votes this time.

The bypoll in 10 seats touted as "semi final" before the crucial Assembly poll next year end indicated that BJP's victory in Lok Sabha poll was losing steam in the politically sensitive state, an analyst said.

After results of bypoll in ten seats, following is the party-wise breakup of the 243-member Bihar Assembly:

JD(U) which gained two seats has increased its tally to 119 including Speaker. BJP's tally has gone up by 4 to become 88. RJD after victory of its three candidates has enhanced its tally to 24 and Congress by one to 5. CPI has one member while there are 5 Independents.

Obra seat in Aurangabad district won by Independent Somprash Singh is vacant as the Patna High Court annulled his election recently.

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