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Bihar: Results of Urban Local Bodies Elections Dash Hopes of Several Powerful Leaders

Though ULBs elections were not held on the party line or party's symbols, several close relatives of different leaders contested elections, and many other candidates claimed support of ruling and opposition alliances.
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Representational Image. Image Courtesy: PTI

Patna: The much-awaited results of urban local bodies (ULBs) in Bihar on Friday dashed the hope of several powerful leaders of ruling Mahagathbandhan and opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Though ULBs elections were not held on the party line or party's symbols, several close relatives of different leaders contested elections, and many other candidates claimed support of ruling and Opposition alliances.

The elections for 1,665 posts, including 1,529 wards of 135 ULBs across 23 districts, were held on December 28 in the second round, and results were announced on December 30 after the counting of votes. According to the state election commissioner's (SEC) official data, the elections of ULBs include 17 municipal corporations, including Patna municipal corporation, two nagar parishads, and 48 nagar panchayats in the state. The first phase of elections for 156 ULBs was held on December 18 across the state.

However, for the first time, people have directly elected the mayor and deputy mayor of their respective ULBs.It was a new beginning and end of the decades-old practice of indirect elections in which only elected representatives (ward members) of ULBs form the electorate following the amendments to the Bihar Municipal Act early this year.

In the multi corner contest for mayor of Patna Municipal Corporation, former mayor Seeta Sahu was elected. Sahu is a BJP leader and this time she was enjoying full support of the saffron party with several local party leaders involved in her campaign. Sahu defeated Mahjabeen,wife of former mayor Afzal Imam, by a margin of nearly 20,000 votes.

BJP-supported Usha Devi Agarwal won the mayor’s post of Katihar Nagar Nigam. Similarly, BJP-backed Nirmala Devi won mayor’s post of Muzaffarpur Nagar Nigam and Vadhundhra Lal won the mayor’s post of Bhagalpur Nagar Nigam, Indu Devi won as mayor of Arrah Nagar Nigam and Rakhi Gupta as mayor of Chapra Nagar Nigam.

The ruling Mahagathbandhan-supported Ganesh Paswan won as mayor of Gaya Nagar Nigam and Vibha Kumari in Purnea Nagar Nigam, Kumkum Devi won as mayor of Munger Nagar Nigam and Pinki Kumari in Begusarai Nagar Nigam.

While Anjum Ara won as mayor of Darbhanga Nagar Nigam and Raunak Jahan Perwej was elected mayor of Sitamarhi Nagar Nigam. Both contested without active support of the Mahagathbandhan.

The counting of votes is still underway in over a dozen ULBs in different districts.

Deputy Speaker of Bihar Legislative Assembly Maheshwar Hazari’s wife Sandhya Hazari was defeated for the post of mayor of Samastipur Nagar Nigam. Hazari, a former minister, is a senior JD-U leader and considered close to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Anita Ram defeated her.

Similarly, former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Renu Devi’s daughter in law Surbhi Ghai lost the post of mayor of Bettiah Nagar Nigam in West Champaran district.

Sunaina Devi,daughter of former Chief Minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi of Hindustani Awam Morcha, a key ally of ruling Mahagathbandhan, who contested for the post of mayor of Gaya Nagar Nigam is lagging as counting of votes were still underway.

In Narpatganj Nagar Panchayat in Araria district, an MBBS student Sannu Kumari was elected as chief councilor. The 21-year-old is a first year MBBS student of the government-run Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital. Neelam Devi, wife of former MP Sukhdeo Paswan was defeated.

Former Union Minister and senior BJP leader Radha Mohan Singh-backed candidate for mayor Prakash Ashthana lost the Motihari Nagar Nigam elections in East Champaran district. Motihari, was till recently seen as a stronghold of Singh, but the latest ULB result tells a different story because his candidate was defeated by a margin of 15,000 votes.

There are reports of many close relatives of MPs,MLAs,MLCs and former ministers who were defeated in the ULB elections.

The outcome shows that voters have elected new faces and defeated most of the old ones across the state.

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