Ranchi, June 5: The UPA euphoria over the RJD victory in the Palamau Lok Sabha by-elections two months back evaporated today with Independent candidate Inder Singh Namdhari retaining the Daltonganj Assembly seat.
The former Speaker defeated Anil Chaurasia of Ajsu by a margin of over 10,000 votes.
Chaurasia had tasted defeat in the 2005 election by a margin of over 3,000 votes.
Namdhari, backed by the BJP, scored 41,637 votes. Neelu Mishra, the nominee of the JD(U), forfeited her deposit, bagging a meagre 1,135 votes.
Namdhari had quit the JD(U) after picking up differences with the party leadership during the parliamentary bypoll in Palamau over fielding candidates.
The Congress’s K.N. Tripathy scored 15,747, while Bobby Khan of the BSP bagged a little over 16,132 votes.
The outcome of the Daltonganj by-election demonstrated that the Sardar from Palamau had his stronghold intact. He has bagged the seat five times in the past.
Namdhari’s victory was significant as it was widely predicted that the by-election will prove to be a waterloo for him in the face of a large number of candidates from upper castes, particularly Brahmin and Rajput. They, however, finally sided with him after they found their caste nominees to be nowhere in the scene.
The result also shocked water resource minister Kamlesh Singh, who had fielded his brother Binay Singh as the under the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) banner. He got 7,220 votes, while Anand Shankar of Babulal Marandi-led Jharkhand Vikas Morcha got 7,803 votes.
NCP leaders P.A. Sangma and Tariq Anwar had extensively campaigned for the party candidate. Kamlesh Singh was testing the water by fielding his brother so that he himself could contest the next Assembly polls from Daltonganj. Hussainabad, the seat represented at present by Singh, is proposed to be reserved for the Scheduled Castes by the Delimitation Commission.
An elated Namdhari described his victory as “a lesson for those who believed in the money power to get elected”. “It is the electorate’s love, which matters most in democracy,” he maintained.
Castigating the Madhu Koda government as “shortlived”, Namdhari kept his future course of action close to his heart. “I am not going to join any party right now,” he added.
Anil Chaurasia blamed his defeat to a conspiracy hatched by Namdhari.
Senior RJD leader Girinath Singh, in the meantime, hailed Namdhari’s victory, saying that the poll outcome was a slap on those who wanted to take on the Assembly by using muscle and money power. He, however, said it was not going to make any impact on the fate of the Koda government. The RJD was humiliated after the Congress forced it to withdraw its nominee.