Imran Khan says there is a new initiative to set up a anti-BJP front across India
Just three months after the BJP swept the Lok Sabha election, the new combine of the RJD, JD-U and Congress stunned the BJP by winning six of the 10 assembly seats in Bihar.
Celebrations erupted outside the offices here of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office — on the same road here — was deserted as the results came in.In a stunning reversal of fortunes, the RJD won three seats, its new-found ally JD-U two while the Congress wrested the Bhagalpur seat from the BJP after a gap of 23 long years.
RDJ chief Lalu Prasad tweeted from Mumbai: “I thank the people of Bihar for the victory of the RJD-JD-U combine and Congress. It seems people have corrected the wrong of the Lok Sabha polls.”
JD-U leader and former chief minister Nitish Kumar said the BJP’s divisive politics had failed in Bihar. He said he would step up efforts to form a nationwide anti-BJP front.
The RJD won from Mohiuddinnagar, Rajnagar and Chapra and the JD-U from Jale and Parbatta. The BJP, which was confident of crushing the opposition, won in Hajipur, Narkatiaganj, Mohania and Banka.
RJD’s Ajay Kumar Bulganin won from Mohiuddinnagar by 21,530 votes. His colleagues Ramawatar Paswan was elected from Rajnagar by 3,448 votes while Randhir Kumar Singh won from Chapra by 24,106 votes.
Singh is son of former MP Prabhunath Singh, a known stromgman in Bihar politics.
JD-U’s Rishi Mishra made it to the assembly from Jale by 7,720 votes and Ramanand Prasad Singh won from Parbatta by 56,990 votes.
In Bhagalpur, Ajit Sharma of the Congress won by 17,000 votes over Nabhay Choudhary of BJP.
The BJP’s Awadesh Singh won in Hajipur by 6,127 votes, Nirmal Ram (Mohania) by 19,851 votes, Rashmi Verma (Narkatiaganj) by 15,742 votes and Ram Narayan Mandal (Banka) scraped through by 711 votes. Its ally, Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party, was routed.
The Bhagalpur by-election was caused by the resignation of former minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey after he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Buxar on BJP ticket.
“It is a big win for Congress,” state Congress president Ashok Choudhary said. The BJP had been winning the seat since 1990. An urban centre, Bhagalpur was considered a BJP stronghold.
Of the 10 seats, the BJP had won six, the RJD three and the JD-U one in the assembly elections in 2010.
The Aug 21 by-elections were seen as a litmus test for both the BJP as well as the RJD and JD-U, which came together after two decades soon after the Lok Sabha results came out in May.
The Congress later joined the alliance to take on the BJP-LJP combine.
RJD leader Ashok Kumar Sinha said the victory of the new alliance showed that the “magic of Lalu and Nitish has clicked”.
Nitish Kumar resigned as chief minister in May after the Lok Sabha disaster. A new JD-U government, led by Jitan Ram Manjhi, took power with the backing of its former foe, the RJD.
“The Modi factor has failed,” Sinha gloated, referring to BJP mascot and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
JD-U leader Sanjay Singh said the results proved that Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar were right in joining hands again.
“It was the first major political test after the general election and ahead of next year’s assembly polls in Bihar,” he said. “The alliance of RJD-JD-U-Congress has gained.”
BJP leaders in the state were shattered but put up a brave front.
BJP’s Syed Shahnawaz Hussain took moral responsibility for the poor showing. Party spokesman Vinod Narain Jha, however, claimed the results would have no impact on the assembly polls next year.