A few months after winning 16 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, JD (U) national president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced that his outfit would contest the ensuing elections in Jharkhand and Delhi on its own. The move, he said, was to increase its presence in other States (and also increase its vote percentage) so that the JD (U) could eventually become a national party.
But the Jharkhand Assembly poll result on December 23 shows that Nitish came a cropper in the neighbouring State where he refused to have any truck with the BJP, an ally in Bihar.
Nitish’s JD(U) contested on 46 seats out of 81 constituencies in Jharkhand. Before winning a single constituency, it forfeited its deposit on all the seats it contested. Overall, the JD (U) got an aggregate 0.8 per cent vote. This was far less than the mandatory 8 per cent votes required to be recognised as a State party.
The JD(U) Jharkhand unit president and former MP Salkhan Murmu contested from two seats – Majhgaon and Shikaripara. And lost deposit in both the constituencies as he polled 1.4 % votes in Majhgaon and 2.9 % votes in Shikaripara. So pathetic was JD (U) performance that out of 46 seats it contested, its nominees came sixth on two seats. On the rest seats, it was all the more worse.
“We had high hopes in Jharkhand. Particularly in Majhgaon, Godda and Chatra. But our calculations went wrong. We will sit and decide where we erred,” said JD (U)’s Jharkhand unit general secretary Shravan Kumar.
The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), which, much like the JD (U), contested Jharkhand poll on its own (after making it loud and clear that it will have no alliance with the BJP outside Bihar), performed worse than the JD (U). It contested on 50 seats. And lost deposit in all the constituencies. The aggregate vote garnered by the LJP in Jharkhand was merely 0.27 per cent.