Bihar: Paswan regains Hajipur, lost ground

Ram Vilas Paswan. Ram Vilas Paswan.

LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party chief Upendra Kushwaha have reason to rejoice. Till very recently their number of seats was nowhere close to those of Nitish Kumar’s and Lalu Prasad’s parties.

Paswan, whose party had not won any seat in the last Lok Sabha elections, contested only on seven seats won six of them, which is a better show than the tallies of RJD and JD(U). Paswan had decided to align with the BJP after being snubbed by RJD and Congress. “We could have won all seven. But we are very happy with a great NDA show in Bihar and across the country.” Paswan said after regaining his Hajipur seat against former chief minister and JD(U) leader Ram Sunder Das. His son, Chirag Paswan, has made his debut in Lok Sabha from Jamui. Paswan’s younger brother Ramchandra’s win makes it three MPs from the family.

The biggest victory for the LJP was Rama Kishore Singh defeating five-time MP and former Union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh in Vaishali. Rama Kishore was considered a weak candidate against the RJD veteran. LJP victory from Munger against Nitish’s close aide Rajiv Ranjan alias Lalan Singh is also something Paswan will be celebrating. This is, in fact, the best ever show by the party. In 2004, it had only four MPs.

A senior LJP leader said: “We were marginalised in Bihar politics. This election has revived us. It is a sort of poetic justice for Paswanji.” Kushwaha, once close to Nitish, can also justify aligning with the BJP. New entrant RLSP won all the three seats it contested. In fact, BJP’s alliance partner won nine out of 10 seats. Kushwaha, who won convincingly against RJD’s Kanti Singht in Karakat, said: “It is a Modi wave. It is a mandate for change and we are happy to get a firm footing in Bihar politics.”

Close Nitish aide Bijay Kumnar Choudhary said: “BJP’s victory is unprecedented. It looks like we were not able to convince voters about our role in national politics. We have no option but to respect the mandate.”

The JD(U) and RJD had individually fought on 38 and 27 seats, respectively.