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Bypolls Deal Big Blow to Ruling NDA in Bihar

In a boost for Tejashwi Yadav’s leadership, RJD set to bag 3 out of 5 seats, one goes to AIMIM.
Bypolls Deal Big Blow to Ruling NDA in Bihar

Representational Image. Image Courtesy: NDTV

Patna: In a major setback to the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ,the Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) on Thursday won two seats and was leading in one seat in the bye-elections for five Assembly and one Lok Sabha seat in Bihar. The AIMIM took one seat for the first time. The only silver lining for NDA was that Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) ally Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) retained the Samastipur Lok Sabha polls in the bye-elections.

The bye-election results are being seen as a mini-referendum for the Nitish Kumar-led BJP-Janata Dal (United) government ahead of the Assembly polls next year.

Contrary to local Hindi dailies and TV news channels reports of a likely repeat of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls result when the NDA swept by winning 39 of 40 seats in the state, the outcome of the bye-elections went in favour of the Opposition.

The RJD won from two Assembly seats, Simri Bakhtiyarpur and Belhar, and was leading in the Nathnagar seat.

Under the leadership of Tejashwi Yadav, the former deputy chief minister and younger son of party supremo Lalu Prasad, the RJD has proved that it has an edge over JD-U in the state, despite it having failed to make a mark in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as part of a grand alliance. ”RJD’s traditional support base among backward castes, Muslims and Dalits is still intact, unlike Nitish Kumar’s JD-U and BJP”, RJD spokesperson Bhai Birendra said.

This is second time this year when RJD has contested polls in the absence party chief Lalu Prasad, who is in jail after being convicted in the fodder scam. At present, he is undergoing treatment at a government-run hospital in Ranchi in Jharkhand.

An independent candidate has won from Daraunda seat by defeating JD-U, while AIMIM won from Kishanganj seat, defeating the BJP candidate.

However, Lok Janshalti Party, a BJP ally, won seat when its candidate Prince Raj won from Samastipur Lok Sabha seat, which fell vacant after the death of his father, Ramchander Paswan two months ago. Ramchander Paswan was the brother of LJP chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.

According to poll watchers here, the poll results will refurbish and boost the image of Tejashwi Yadav inside the Grand Alliance. By winning 2 seats and leading in one seat, RJD has proved that it will play a big role as major opposition force in the state in 2020 Assembly polls.

Ending speculation, BJP president Amit Shah announced last week that Bihar's ruling NDA would contest the 2020 Assembly polls together, and Nitish Kumar would be the chief ministerial candidate. This was a setback for some ambitious BJP leaders who were looking to replace Kumar, who is JD-U president, if the party went solo.

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