Nitish wave sweeps Bihar; Lalu, Cong decimated
Patna, Nov 24: After his clean sweep powered by an impressive BJP performance, Nitish Kumar said Bihar has chosen to end its association with caste politics to make a new beginning - a ''nayi kahani." He will form a new government on Friday.
The JD(U)-BJP combine won 206 seats in the 243-seat Bihar Assembly, up 63 seats from the 143 it had in 2005. The Lalu-Yadav-led RJD-LJP combine managed to win in only 25 seats, down 39 from last time.
The man who will be Chief Minister again, was the last to respond to the Bihar election results. He waited till afternoon before acknowledging the landslide victory of his alliance.
Once it was clear he was back with a huge majority, Nitish Kumar thanked Bihar and said this was a victory of the people and not that of his alliance. He promised to work hard for Bihar and its people. He said development had won in Bihar. Nitish said he had no magic wand, but he would try and live up to the aspirations of the people.
Voters, he said, had to choose between progress or antiquated politics and they had chosen to surge ahead. "I promise the people of Bihar that we will work even harder than we have in the last five years. I will not shy away from hard work. We will face any tests together."
Bihar, he said, had chosen progress and the people wanted more of that. And he mde a point of women voting in unprecedented numbers, saying "this shows our progress." The youth too as key to this election and to the direction Bihar chose.
Nitish said the state had defeated the politics of cate and religion and that the verdict in the elections was the people's stamp of approval for that ending and for an agenda of development.
In his sober, low-key address, the Chief Minister could not help make a dig at Lalu Yadav and his years of rule when he said "no sooner would we fight elections that we'd land in hospital." He thanked the election commission, but credited the people for free, fair and violence-free elections.
But he did say that he now wanted to work with friend and foe alike to bring the best to Bihar adding "Na kahu se dosti, na kahu se bair."
Asked whether he was a strong contender for the Prime Minister's post in the future, Nitish said, with folded hands, that he was happy to serve the people of Bihar.
The Nitish Kumar-led JD(U)-BJP alliance on Wednesday attained a three-fourth majority in Bihar, bagging 198 of the 243-Assembly seats while still leading in 8 places.
JD(U) on its own won 109 seats, while its electoral ally BJP snapped up 89 of the 141 and 102 seats they contested respectively.
Reducing the opposition to tatters, the NDA partners improved their performance considerably compared to the last elections in 2005, when they together won 143 seats.
The RJD-LJP alliance steered by Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan, both of whom did not contest, ate humble pie and secured just 22 seats with RJD (18) and LJP (4) while leading in two other places. They together had 64 seats -- RJD (54) and LJP (10) last time.
To add to RJD's humiliation, former chief minister and Prasad's wife Rabri Devi lost at Sonepur in Saran district to nearest BJP rival. She was trailing in Raghopur.
The Congress suffered a major electoral setback as it won only four seats compared to the nine it held in 2005.
The CPI won one seat and Independents emerged victorious at three places.
Lalu Yadav, who was the RJD-LJP chief ministerial candidate, gave credit of the victory to Nitish, but not the BJP.
He said he had accepted the defeat with humility.
"We will soon undertake a review to ascertain what went wrong leading to such astonishing victory for the NDA," Lalu said.
Congress, on its part, conceded that it lost the polls badly due to lack of organisational strength and absence of an influential local leader.
"We have lost the polls badly owing to organisational weakness as well as absence of a tall leader unlike other contenders," Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman P C Mishra told reporters.
Among the 25 ministers who contested the polls, 20 won and five lost. Among the 20 winners, 13 belonged to the JD(U) and the remaining to BJP.
Speaker Uday Narain Choudhury of JD(U) won from the Imamganj (SC) seat.
LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan's two brothers, Pasupati Kumar Paras, the state LJP president lost the Alauli seat and Ramchandra Paswan from Kusheshwar Asthan.
BPCC president Choudhury Mehmood Ali Qaiser lost from the Simri-Bakhtiarpur seat.
Rabri Devi's brother Sadhu Yadav, who contested on a Congress ticket lost from Gopalganj.
Other prominent Congress losers included Loveli Anand, wife of jailed politician Anand Mohan Singh, who contested from Alamnagar.
Papu Yadav's wife Ranjita Ranjan lost from Bihariganj on a Congress ticket. Yadav is serving a life sentence for the killing of CPI(M) MLA Ajit Sarkar.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 24 Nov 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 24 Nov 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Nov 2010 00:00:00 IST
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