Too early to write Lalu's political obituary

Wafer-thin victory margins for Nitishs men

In Keoti constituency, the RJD nominee Faraz Fatmi lost to BJP’s Ashok Kumar Yadav with a wafer-thin margin of 29 votes.

In adjoining constituency Bahadurpur, Lalu’s associate Harinandan Yadav lost to JD(U) candidate Madan Sahni by a slender margin of 643 votes.

In Bihpur, RJD’s Shailesh Mandal lost to BJP’s Kumar Shailendra by a margin of merely 465 votes.

In Goh, Lalu’s candidate Ram Ayodhya Yadav lost to JD(U)’s Dr Ranvijay Kumar by a narrow margin of 694 votes.

These are four of the many such instances where Lalu or Paswan’s men lost narrowly in a multi-corner contest. Take for instance Chakai Assembly seat where Paswan’s nominee Vijay Kumar Singh lost the election by just 188 votes.

The political pundits may have written Lalu off, but statistics prove the maverick leader got votes far more than the Congress. Of course, he had to pay the price for his 15 years of misrule and non-governance. Results show that people had made up their mind not to give another chance to Lalu, but he would have fared much better had he stitched a grand pact, akin to 2004 Lok Sabha polls, and formed an alliance comprising the Congress, the RJD and the LJP. This way he could have prevented division of Opposition votes. Whether he could have come to power on such poll-calculations is a matter of debate, but history has shown when the rivals are disintegrated, the ruling party romps home.

This could be gauged from the fact that Congress could win all the Lok Sabha seats in Mumbai after Raj Thackeray fielded his nominees on every constituencies (falling within Mumbai) thereby denting the vote-bank of Shiv Sena and the BJP.

Similarly, Congress improved its performance in 2009 (compared to 2004 polls) in Andhra where actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi fielded his candidates in majority of the seats and split the traditional votes of Telugu Desam Party. As a consequence, Congress swept the Lok Sabha as well as Assembly polls.

Ditto in Bihar. No doubt, there was an undercurrent in favour of Nitish for his good governance, but a divided Opposition gave the JD(U) strongman an unprecedented mandate.

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