Patna: The Janata Dal (United )-Bharatiya Janata Party combine on Wednesday headed for a massive sweep in the Assembly elections in Bihar to come back to power for a second continuous term and may notch a three-fourth majority, worsting the RJD-LJP alliance.
More than four hours after counting began in the six-phased polls which spanned over a month, the ruling alliance led by chief minister Nitish Kumar was ahead in close to 200 seats in the 243-member House.
The opposition RJD-LJP combine, steered by Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan, has witnessed a massive erosion in its strength with the two parties ahead only in 29 seats while the Congress, which fought the elections alone, was way behind at seven. Others were ahead in eight seats.
From 143 seats in the last elections in 2005, the JD(U)-BJP alliance has put up an impressive performance across the state and may have even secured a considerable percentage of votes of the Muslim community. RJD and LJP together had 64 seats in the outgoing House. Congress had 9.
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BJP was effusive in its praise for Kumar and his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi with party chief Nitin Gadkari saying the results showed that the politics of 21st century is of politics of development and not that of caste.
His party leaders also saw the results as a rejection of family and dynasty politics, an obvious reference to RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s politics and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi who campaigned in the elections.
Congress gave all credit to the chief minister for the ruling combine’s success in the elections and said law and order in the state improved under his regime.
AICC in charge for Bihar Mukul Wasnik said it was a “tough time” for party politics in the state and that his party will analyse why huge crowds in rallies of its top leaders could not translate into votes.
To add to RJD’s humilitation, former chief minister and Prasad’s wife Rabri Devi was trailing behind her nearest rivals in Raghopur and Sonepur, the two seats from where she was contesting.
The ruling coalition has won 14 of the 17 seats for which results have been declared. While RJD-LJP won one seat, indepenents have won two seats.
The BJP won from ten constituencies -- Bettiah, Chanpatia, Patna Sahib, Ramnagar, Raxaul, Kumhrar, Narkatiaganj, Bankipore, Darbhanga and Rajgir.
Its senior partner JD(U) won eight seats -- Bagha, Nautan, Balmikinagar, Asthawan, Nalanda, Biharsharif, Sheohar and Barh, while independents bagged Sikta and Lauria.
Former chief minister and RJD candidate Rabri Devi was trailing behind her nearest JD(U) rival Satish Kumar by 200 votes in Raghopur and by 9500 votes behind BJP candidate Vijnay Kumar Singh at Sonepur.
In the Patna Sahib constituency, BJP minister Nandkishore Yadav won the elections defeating his nearest Congress rival.
In Bettiah, BJP minister Renu Devi defeated Congress nominee Madan Mohan Tiwari by around 15,000 votes, while in Chanpatia, Chandramohan Rai of BJP trounced BSP’s Ejaj Hussain by over 13,000 votes.
Prabhat Ranjan Singh of JD(U) won the Bagaha seat defeating BSP’s Md Kamran by around 20,000 votes.
Among those leading were JD(U) ministers Vijendra Yadav (Supaul), Narendra Narain Yadav JD(U) (Alamgarh), Ram Parvesh Rai (Barauli) and Hari Prasad Shah (Laukaha) besides BJP minister Ashwini Choubey (Bhagalpur).
State Congress president Choudhury Mehboob Ali Kaiser and state RJD president Abdul Bari Siddique were trailing behind their JD(U) rivals in Simri-Bakhtiarpur and Alinagar respectively.