Patna: Political prudence in Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's decision to part ways with the BJP, largely on the basis of personal ego, was always under the scanner. Although the political pundits called it a political suicide, Kumar was hoping to garner Muslim votes by snapping ties with the BJP. That clearly did not happen today with the JDU winning just two seats out of 40 while the BJP won 22.
The performance of the regional outfit was so poor that even its supremo and sitting MP Sharad Yadav lost his Madhepura seat to Pappu Yadav of the RJD. The Congress also faded by merely winning two seats of Kishanganj and Supaul. Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar lost in Sasaram. Its ally Lalu Prasad's RJD won four seats. However, Lalu's wife and former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi lost the Saran seat to BJP's Rajiv Pratap Rudy. His daughter Misa Bharti also lost in Pataliputra to BJP candidate Ram Kirpal Yadav.
Although the BJP gave a stellar performance in the state, it has to face some shocking defeats as well including the party's Bhagalpur MP Syed Shahnawaz Hussain. He was defeated by RJD's Bulo Mandal by a margin of 9,485 votes.
Among the prominent winners for the BJP in Bihar were of Shatrughana Sinha in Patna Sahib and of Giriraj Singh in Nawada. BJP ally LJP also won six seats with party chief Ramvilas Paswan winning in Hajipur and his son Chirag Paswan emerging victorious in Jamui.
Bihar witnessed a high-octane campaign in the run-up to the multi-phase polling with big players all giving it to a do-or-die fight. The stakes were indeed high for all the players. For JDU leader and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, a good performance was an issue of prestige. He was hoping to prove that his open antipathy towards BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and his move to break the 17-year-old alliance with the BJP in the state were politically justifiable. A justification could come only through a decent performance in the general elections. He was sparing no efforts since a flop show could push his government to a state of collapse.
For Lalu Prasad, the RJD chief, it was a question of political survival. Convicted in the fodder scam case and thus not 'available' to be a direct player in politics, he was fighting a battle to reassert his political relevance. Moreover, with his loyal Muslim-Yadav vote base under threat from rivals and the broad support for him from other castes eroding dangerously, elections 2014 were important to him like no other election in his long political career. Mid-way through the campaign he appeared to have regained some lost ground.
The biggest player in the state though, was an outsider, Narendra Modi. Challenged repeatedly by Nitish over his leadership credentials, the latter made Bihar an issue of personal honour. In every election held in the state since 2005, Modi was virtually banned from entering Bihar and campaign for the NDA candidates in the state, at the behest of Nitish. He had to prove a point. Apparently that was the reason Modi focused more on Bihar than any other states in this poll. His seriousness is underlined from the fact he addressed as many as 27 election rallies and a whopping 175 3-D rallies across the state since the polling began. Apart from this, his junior colleague and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi also addressed as many as 180 election rallies in Bihar in addition to holding roads shows in each of 40 LS constituencies.
What added suspense to the already electoral battle was the high turnout. Bihar recorded a jump of a significant 11.72 percent polling this time compared to 2009 Lok Sabha elections. There were at least nine parliamentary constituencies which recorded an increase of 14 to 19 percent polling wherein in 20 constituencies, the voting increased by 10.01 to 13.99 percent.
Updated Date: May 17, 2014 01:09 AM