Lalu Prasad’s RJD, though humiliated in the general election, emerged a clear winner in the bypolls, held simultaneously, with the party candidates clinching three of the five seats.
The RJD lost the Kochadhaman seat, which it had won in 2010, to Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), it wrested the Chiraiya (Begusarai) and Baisi (Purnea) seats from the BJP and Sahebpur Kamal from the JD(U).
The RJD’s victory in the Assembly bypolls indicated that Lalu — who managed to retain the four Lok Sabha seats, the number his party had clinched in 2009 too — was still holding his relevance at the grassroots level.
The Assembly bypoll results failed to provide the fig leaf that chief minister Nitish Kumar may have been looking forward to in face of the worst-ever defeat of his party in the Lok Sabha elections.
The JD(U)’s Parveen Amanullah had won the Sahebpur Kamal seat in 2010, which she gave up to contest the Patna Sahib Lok Sabha seat as the AAP nominee.
But the RJD’s Laxmi Narayan Prasad Yadav wrested Sahebpur Kamal from the JD(U) by a margin of over 16,600 votes. The RJD wrested the Chiraiya in East Champaran from the BJP despite the fact that the BJP’s Radhamohan Singh had won the East Champaran Lok Sabha seat by a huge margin of nearly two lakh votes.
The BJP’s Awanish Kumar, who was vanquished as the JD(U) nominee in East Champaran, had won Chiraiya in 2010.
JD(U)’s Mujahid Alam won the Kochadhaman Assembly seat in Kishanganj defeating his nearest Congress candidate Sadique Samdani by 10,238 votes, Election Commission sources said.
The BJP wrested the Maharajganj Assembly seat from the JD(U) with its nominee, Kumar Deo Ranjan Singh, trouncing the RJD’s Manikchand Rai.
JD(U)’s Damodar Rawat had won this seat in 2010. His death had necessitated the byelection here.
The RJD’s Abdus Subhan wrested the Baisi Assembly seat (Purnea) from the BJP, which Santosh Kushwaha bagged in the 2010 Assembly elections. Kushwaha switched over to the (JD U), wresting the Purnea seat from the BJP’s Udai ‘Pappu’ Singh.
In a way, the BJP’s “whitewash” was complete in the Muslim-dominated Seemanchal, with the party losing all the Lok Sabha and Assembly seats in the region.
The only silver lining for Nitish was the victory of his candidate, Mujahid Alam, against Congress’s Sadik Samdani in Kochadhaman (Kishanganj).
Sadik failed to do what his party’s Lok Sabha candidate, Asrarul Haq, did in Kishanganj. The RJD’s Akhtarul Iman had won this seat in the 2010 Assembly elections. Iman had entered the Kishanganj Lok Sabha poll fray as the JD(U) nominee but he later withdrew from the contest.