For the NDA, it is not just the 4-6 loss that will be a cause of concern. The result could have been 7-3 in favour of the maha gathbandan as the BJP won Banka by just 711 votes. The new combination of Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar with the Congress scored thumping wins with 15,000-plus margins in four of the six seats it clinched.
The BJP had won six of these 10 seats in the last assembly elections. If the result is seen in the context of Lok Sabha seats held by the BJP, only two of the four BJP legislators who went on to become MPs — Ashwini Kumar Choubey (Buxar), Janardhan Singh Sigriwal (Maharajganj), Chhedi Paswan (Sasaram) and Nityanand Rai (Ujiarpur) — saw their assembly seats — Rai’s Hajipur and Paswan’s Mohania — retained by the party. Choubey’s Bhagalpur, a traditional BJP seat, fell to the Congress.
Sigriwal, who defeated Prabhunath Singh of the RJD to the Lok Sabha, saw Singh’s son Randhir taking his former assembly seat of Chhapra. An assembly segment of Saran that had given the BJP a lead of about 25,000 votes in the Lok Sabha poll, Chhapra reversed that by giving Randhir a 24,000-vote margin. It signalled a successful Muslim-Yadav-Rajput combination worked out by the RJD, with help from EBCs.
Chhapra was also a battle of prestige for Lalu, who had represented Saran several times, and whose wife Rabri Devi lost it to Rajiv Pratap Rudy.
Mohiuddinngar, won by the BJP in 2010, fell to the RJD by 21,530 votes. Here, the party had hoped for a Rajput-EBC combination but it was the RJD that struck the right social combination with a Yadav candidate, Ajay Kumar Bulganin, while the BJP’s former winner Rana Gangeshwar Singh had switched over to the JD(U).
Jale was a surprise defeat for the BJP, thanks to rebel Vijay Mishra fielding his son Rishi Mishra from the JD(U). Here again, the BJP failed to wean away part of the upper-caste Brahmin votes. Rishi defeated the BJP’s Ramniwas Prasad by 7,720 votes. The RJD retained Rajnagar, winning by 3,448 votes, its only narrow victory.
Parbatta was the JD(U)’s biggest triumph as former minister R P Singh defeated the LJP’s Suheli Mehta by 56,990 votes. This seat saw a rare combination of upper caste Bhumihars and OBC Yadavs along with Dalits voting together in favour of the JD(U), busting a BJP formula of rallying the upper castes.
Mohania and Narkatiaganj gave the BJP it two larger wins, by 19,851 and 15,742 votes.
BJP leaders Prabhat Jha, Shahnawaz Hussain and Krishnapal Gujar also addressed a number of rallies.