| A BJP leader distributes food packets to people outside Mahavir temple in Patna on Saturday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
A huge poster of the BJP, thanking the state’s electorate for Friday’s historic mandate, summed up the mood in Patna on Saturday — happiness for the victorious, introspection for the defeated.
The poster at the Income Tax roundabout has the BJP Prime Minister-designate, Narendra Modi, and few other senior leaders in the Bihar unit, smiling down at the people. Modi, once barred from entering Bihar by Nitish Kumar, standing tall out of the poster was a reflection of how Nitish’s fortress has been breached. Make that devastated by the Modi wave.
Nitish even resigned as chief minister in the evening, taking responsibility of the JD(U)’s dismal performance.
The verdict out, it was time for the victorious to pray and and for the vanquished to introspect on Saturday.
BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha, who retained Patna Sahib by over 2 lakh votes, made a trip to Hanuman Mandir near Station Road in the morning with wife Poonam. Later, he made his way to the party office. He met state party chief Mangal Pandey and other party leaders and treated them to sweets. Then, he held a news meet.
He said: “It is not my victory but the victory of the people of Patna. So, I want to congratulate them. Last time, I had won by a record of 1,70,000 votes. This time I even broke that record, winning by a margin of around 2,60,000 votes. This is perhaps the highest victory margin ever in elections held in Patna. The victory has also given us a great responsibility of serving the people in the best possible way. We would work towards bringing in more investments, developing infrastructure and waste management in Patna.”
Congress’s Kunal Singh, the man who came second to the film star-politician, and the JD(U)’s Gopal Prasad Sinha stayed away from the limelight. Speaking to The Telegraph in the evening, Kunal said: “First, I would like to congratulate bade bhai (elder brother) Shatrughan, but I must say he has got the victory riding on the Modi wave.”
The JD(U)’s dismal performance — reduced to two seats from 20 in 2009 — in the election manifested itself in frustration and anger among JD(U) leaders.
MLA Gyanendra Singh Gyanu told journalists: “The results have shown there is resentment among the people of the state and party workers. We have not only been ousted in the Lok Sabha elections but have also lost four seats in the Assembly bypolls, which is quite alarming. The core workers are not happy, as there has been a general feeling that they were neglected and those from the bureaucracy and other non-political backgrounds were given preference.”
If the mood in the JD(U) camp was sombre, 10 Circular Road — the residence of RJD chief Lalu Prasad — was no less better.
The family home was shrouded in dreary silence since neither Rabri nor Misa Bharti made it to the Lower House. Rabri, a former chief minister, lost in Saran — a seat Lalu held for years before being debarred from contesting elections — to Rajiv Pratap Rudy. Misa lost in Pataliputra to chacha and her father’s once-trusted lieutenant, Ram Kripal Yadav, by 40,322 votes.
A source in the RJD said: “Though there was a sense of disappointment, the morning here went into analysis of the data given by the counting agents. Later, the family held discussions during lunch and watched the reactions of various leaders on TV.”