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Shock & surprise for party stalwarts

- Some pull off victory, some fail to make an impression

Political stalwarts in Bihar had a mixed fortune after results were declared for the Lok Sabha elections on Friday.

A few big guns managed to script victory and many faced “unexpected defeats”. The prominent among the winners include Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP) and his son Chirag Paswan (LJP), Ram Kripal Yadav (BJP), Shatrughan Sinha (BJP) and former Union home secretary R.K. Singh (BJP).

On the other hand, the big stars who failed to shine included Meira Kumar (Congress), former governor Nikhil Kumar (Congress), Lalu’s Prasad wife Rabri Devi (RJD) and daughter Misa Bharti (RJD), former Union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh (RJD), filmmaker Prakash Jha (JD-U) and national president of the JD(U) Sharad Yadav.

Among the losers, the most shocking was the defeat of Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to BJP candidate Chhedi Paswan, who had twice represented the constituency. The sixty-nine-year-old daughter of Dalit icon Babu Jagjivan Ram was aiming a hat-trick from Sasaram, however, Chhedi’s intensive campaign finally paid off. He defeated Meira by 63,327 votes.

Chhedi (58), who was once an athlete and had represented at the national level, gave the credit to the people of Sasaram. He also thanked Narendra Modi, “whose factor has worked across the nation”.

Another shock came from sitting MP Sharad Yadav for whom chief minister Nitish Kumar had stationed himself in Madhepura for 10 days, leaving nothing to chance to ensure his victory. Pappu Yadav of the BJP defeated the five-time MP and the former Union minister. Madhepura was a matter of prestige for the party and Nitish had put in great effort to ensure a win.

Sharad had won Madhepura for the first time in 1991. Except in 1998, he had never tasted defeat in this Yadav-dominated seat.

Another veteran and Congress candidate from Aurangabad, Nikhil Kumar, who quit as Kerala governor to contest the Lok Sabha elections faced defeat from BJP’s Sushil Kumar Singh who was also Delhi’s police commissioner.

Nikhil, is the son of former Bihar chief minister Satyendra Narayan Sinha, who represented the south Bihar seat for seven consecutive terms in the Lok Sabha. He is also the grandson of Gandhian and freedom fighter Anugrah Narayan Sinha, the first deputy chief minister-cum-finance minister of Bihar.

It is said what Amethi and Rae Bareli are to the Gandhis, Aurangabad is to Nikhil. The value of the seat could be understood from the fact that Nikhil’s wife Shyama Singh, too, had represented the family bastion of Aurangabad in the Lok Sabha.

Five-term MP and former Union rural development minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh lost the battle against muscleman Ramakishore alias Rama Singh. Earlier, the ground reality had suggested that Raghuvansh was facing anti-incumbency in the constituency as Yadavs were not happy with him and alleged that he did not do anything to ensure the victory of any MLA hailing from the Yadav community in Vaishali and Muzaffarpur. Allegations were also made that he has been politicising against the Yadavs.

Filmmaker Prakash Jha lost the election for the third consecutive time from West Champaran. He contested as an Independent in 2004 and then on an LJP ticket in 2009. Prakash is known for films on Bihar like Gangaajal and Apaharan.