PATNA: In Bihar’s bellwether bypolls, the Opposition RJD on Wednesday shocked the ruling NDA by defeating JD(U) and BJP candidates in Jehanabad Assembly constituency and Araria Lok Sabha constituency respectively while BJP retained the Bhabhua Assembly seat.
Despite elaborate campaigns by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of JD(U), deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi of BJP and other senior NDA leaders, RJD’s Sarfaraz Alam beat his nearest rival Pradip Kumar Singh of BJP in Muslim-dominated Araria by a margin of 61,778 votes. Alam is the son of former Araria MP Mohammad Taslimuddin, whose death in September last necessitated the bypoll. Alam secured 5,09,334 votes against Singh’s 4,47,546 votes. Muslims account for over 41 per cent of Araria’s electorate.
RJD’s Kumar Krushna Mohan alias Suday Yadav won the Jehanabad Assembly seat by beating JD(U) candidate and former MLA Abhiram Sharma by a margin of 35,036 votes. Yadav’s father Mundrika Singh Yadav had won the seat for RJD in the 2015 Assembly polls. His death in October last necessitated the bypoll.
BJP candidate Rinky Rani Pandey won the Bhabhua Assembly seat by defeating Congress’s Shambhu Patel by a margin of 15,490 votes. Pandey’s late husband Anand Bhushan Pandey had won the seat for BJP in 2015 Assembly polls. His death in November last necessitated the bypoll.
RJD leader and former deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, who led the campaign for RJD-Congress in the absence of his father and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, described the Araria and Jehanabad wins as the “Bihar people’s slap on the face of those talking about double engine government”. He said CM Nitish Kumar was punished for “betraying the mandate of 2015”.
“The more you throw the bitter oil of conspiracy on Lalu, the brighter will shine his lantern… The bypoll results are victory of truth over lies,” said Lalu Prasad Yadav, currently lodged in a Ranchi jail, in a tweet.
Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said: “No political conclusions should be drawn from these bypolls as voters expressed a natural sympathy for the kin of the deceased leaders who were elected earlier”.
“Tejashwi was born with a golden spoon. His party spent the wealth they have gathered through unfair means,” said JD(U) legislator and spokesperson Neeraj Kumar.