In a major blow to the BJP ahead of 2019 polls, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) on Wednesday managed to retain Jehanabad seat as well as the Araria Lok Sabha seat in Bihar, while, the saffron party clinched the Bhabua assembly seat. The elections were seen as a litmus test for both the parties as it was the first electoral test to NDA in Bihar since Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s return to the alliance in July, while the RJD had to fight in the absence of its supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav.
RJD’s Sarafaraz Alam won the Araria Lok Sabha seat by a margin of 61,988 votes. While Sarafaraz Alam got 50,9334 votes, BJP’s Pradip Singh trailed behind with 44,7346 votes. In the Jehanabad assembly seat, RJD’s Uday Yadav defeated his Janata Dal (United) rival Abhiram Sharma by more than 30,000 votes. In small consolation for the BJP, its candidate Rinki Rani Pandey retained the Bhabhua Assembly seat for the party, defeating her Congress rival Shambhu Singh Patel by about 14,000 votes.
Dedicating the win to the people of Bihar, RJD chief’s son and party leader Tejashwi Yadav called the results ‘a victory of the ideology of Lalu Prasad Yadav.’ “You have not jailed Lalu Yadav, you have jailed an ideology. This very ideology will destroy your ego,” tweeted Tejashwi Yadav as the results were pouring in. Yadav also slammed the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government calling it an “opportunistic alliance.” CM Nitish Kumar congratulated the winners and BJP leader Sushil Modi said that the party respected people’s mandate.
By overnight switching sides Nitish Kumar has axed his feet and rendered himself politically irrelevant!
People of Bihar are in no mood to forgive his morality & conscience of comfort and political stunts anytime soon! BJP is already feeling burden of alliance with him!
— Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) March 14, 2018
Reacting to the results, former Chief Minister of Bihar Jitan Ram Manjhi said, “BJP should stop working for its face value and instead put in efforts to work for the people. That’s the only way in which they can improve or else they will face the same result in the 2019 elections as they have in this bypoll.” Manjhi had recently joined the grand alliance after walking away from NDA government.
Leaders from other political parties also congratulated RJD over the victory. Mamata Banerjee and Omar Abdullah congratulated Tejashwi Yadav on Twitter. Congress’ Jyotiraditya Scindia said, “People have spoken against the anti-farmer, anti-youth and anti-women policies of the govt, it is very clear that BJP is being shown the door by the people.”