Severe setback to NDA in Bihar bypolls

The NDA in Bihar suffered a major setback on Thursday when the JD(U)-BJP ruling combination in the state lost four of the five Assembly constituencies where by-elections were held on October 21.

This is perceived as a major jolt to the NDA as it had won 39 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats during May 2019 parliamentary polls. 

The RJD, which drew a blank during the Lok Sabha elections, staged a comeback as it won two of the four Assembly seats it contested. It won Belhar as well as Simri-Bakhtiyarpur by defeating the JD (U) candidates in a direct contest.

However, the mother of all surprise was the victory of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) candidate Kamrul Hoda, who trounced BJP’s Sweety Singh in Kishanganj. Owaisi’s party has thus made its debut in the Bihar Assembly from a Muslim-dominated constituency.  

In yet another setback to the JD (U), an Independent candidate Vyas Singh defeated Nitish’s nominee in Daraunda, Ajay Singh. Ajay’s wife Kavita Singh was earlier an MLA from Daraunda but became a JD(U) MP from Siwan during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls after defeating jailed ex-MP Md Shahabuddin’s wife Heena Sahab. The Assembly seat thus fell vacant.

The only saving grace for Nitish was the victory of his candidate Laxmikant Mandal at Nathnagar where the JD (U) nominee scraped through after winning by merely 4,963 votes.

The LJP, however, managed to retain its fiefdom Samastipur where Prince Raj, nephew of Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, trounced his Congress opponent Ashok Ram by over one lakh votes. Prince’s father Ram Chandra Paswan used to earlier represent Samastipur Lok Sabha seat but his untimely demise led to the by-poll in this parliamentary constituency.

“The voters in Bihar have proved that unemployment, farm crisis and governance are more important issues than nationalism, Article 370, Ayodhya or Triple Talaq,” said former RJD MP Pappu Yadav. 

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