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Assembly bypolls evoke national interest

Few by-elections in Bihar drew as much attention from across the country as the latest one for 10 Assembly seats, the results of which are scheduled to be announced on Monday.

From the managers and strategists from the Left as well as the Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul Congress in Bengal to those of Samajwadi Party (SP) of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh have reportedly been calling their “friends” in Bihar’s political parties to find out the “trend” likely to emerge tomorrow. They are also reaching out to their counterparts in the JMM, RJD, JDU and other non-BJP parties in Jharkhand.

Sources in the JDU revealed the Trinamul Congress leader Mukul Roy, a close aide of Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, sought feedback on the likely trend in the by-election results. Similarly, top Left party leaders Prakash Karat, D. Raja and Sitaram Yechury were said to be in “constant touch” with former chief minister Nitish Kumar to find out if the alliance against the BJP had been succeeding or not.

The state Election Commission said the counting of votes for the 10 seats would begin at 8am tomorrow at Bhagalpur, Banka, Khagaria, Hajipur, Saran, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Samastipur, West Champaran and Bhabhua (Kaimur) — the district headquarters encompassing the 10 Assembly seats that went to the bypolls on August 21.

The national general secretary of the JDU, K.C. Tyagi, on Sunday said from Lucknow: “Many friends from the SP, Left, BSP and Congress were informally in touch with me as well as our leaders, Nitish, Lalu and Sharad Yadav. They are keen to see the success of the JDU-RJD-Congress alliance. Its success will have immediate impact on Maharastra, Punjab and Haryana, going to the polls this year. It will show the way against the BJP.”¯

Elaborating on the stepped-up curiosity among the non-BJP parties, Tyagi said: “Our grand alliance is still incomplete. Nitish Kumar and I had met Yechuri, Karat, Raja and Mulayam after the formation of the JDU-RJD-Congress alliance. All these leaders have great hope from this alliance. That is why they are curious.”

The non-BJP forces cutting across the political spectrum in the country are believed to have been guessing that the experiment of the “grand secular alliance” in the state might show a trend against Narendra Modi-led BJP.

There was a mood of uncertainty in both the camps — the BJP-led NDA as well as the JDU-RJD-Congress alliance — on the eve of the counting of votes. The BJP camp did not appear as confident about the results against the alliance as it was during the May Lok Sabha polls. On the other hand, the JDU-RJD-Congress strategists, who had their party nominees biting the dust at the hands of the BJP-led NDA, too, were not interested in making predictions about the tomorrow’s results.


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