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  Metros   Delhi  15 Mar 2018  RJD wins bypoll in 2 out of 3 seats, setback for JD-U, BJP

RJD wins bypoll in 2 out of 3 seats, setback for JD-U, BJP

THE ASIAN AGE. | NAYEAR AZAD
Published : Mar 15, 2018, 2:00 am IST
Updated : Mar 15, 2018, 2:20 am IST

This byelection was also seen as a test for Tejashwi Yadav, who has been trying to keep the party intact.

Former Bihar chief minister and Hindustani Awami Morcha supremo Jitan Ram Manjhi celebrates in Patna on Wednesday after RJD party’s success in Araria and Jehanabad Assembly elections. (Photo: PTI)
 Former Bihar chief minister and Hindustani Awami Morcha supremo Jitan Ram Manjhi celebrates in Patna on Wednesday after RJD party’s success in Araria and Jehanabad Assembly elections. (Photo: PTI)

Patna: The byelection results in Bihar has come as a major setback for the ruling NDA. The RJD, which is the main Opposition party in the state, has won two of the three seats. Byelections were held for Araria Lok Sabha seat and two assembly segments — Jehanabad and Bhabhua.

RJD candidate Sarfaraz Alam has won the Araria Lok Sabha seat after defeating BJP candidate Pradip Kumar Singh by the margin of 63,000 votes. The byelection for the Araria Lok Sabha seat was necessitated by the death of RJD MP Mohammad Taslimuddin.

The contest was mainly between RJD’s Sarfaraz Alam, Taslimuddin’s son and BJP candidate Pradip Kumar Singh, who had won the seat in 2009 but lost to Taslimuddin in 2014 general elections by 2 lakh votes.

The RJD also retained its Jehanabad Assembly seat that fell vacant after the demise of Mundrika Singh Yadav. The party gave the ticket to his son Krishna Mohan alias Suday Yadav, who defeated JD-U candidate Abhiram Singh by 35,036 votes. Abhiram Singh had won the seat in 2010 when his party was in alliance with the BJP.

The RJD’s victory from the Jehanabad by a strong margin also indicates that a large number of upper caste voters have moved away from the NDA.

Jitan Ram Manjhi factor also seems to have worked in gaining a substantial amount of Mahadalits and EBC votes in favour of the RJD. Mr Manjhi had moved out of the NDA and joined the Grand Secular Alliance after he was denied a ticket from Jehanabad. However, the BJP managed to retain its Bhabhua Assembly seat where its candidate Rinky Pandey won by 14,866 votes after defeating Congress candidate Shambhu Patel. The seat fell vacant after her husband Anand Pandey’s demise. She secured 64,413 votes against 49,647 of the Congress. 

The byelections in the state were seen as the first test for chief minister Nitish Kumar, who had pulled out of the RJD-Congress Grand Secular Alliance in July last year to form a government with the BJP. 

“Nitish Kumar had backstabbed public mandate by leaving the grand alliance. This byelection was the reply to him from people.  The results also show that my father Lalu Yadav has not his popularity among the masses,” RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said after the results.

This byelection was also seen as a test for Tejashwi Yadav, who has been trying to keep the party intact. Political analysts are of the view that the victory has opened the gate for him to play a vital role in the state politics. 

Sources claim that “Araria seat had become the prestige issue for all the political parties. While Tejashwi Yadav had the task to retain the seat, the BJP sent all the big faces to campaign in favor of its candidate Pradip Singh”. 

According to political analysts here, the high margin victory shows that the RJD has managed to maintain its popularity among Muslim –Yadav vote base despite cases against RJD chief Lalu Yadav and his family.

Observers are of the view that RJD’s convincing victory in Bihar and SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh will play a vital role in the formation of a larger alliance at the national level against the BJP.

The BJP leaders, however, dismissed speculations that by-election result is a warning signal for the NDA at the Centre. They said that by-election results failed to indicate any decisive swing as both all political parties retained their seats. 

“All winning candidates won on sympathy votes so to speculate that BJP is losing its sheen is wrong. We firmly believe that people of Bihar will give us their votes in 2019 Lok Sabha and 2020 assembly elections for the work which our government has been doing for Bihar”. Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said.

Tags: sarfaraz alam, assembly, 2019 lok sabha