The Yadavs remained loyal to Lalu Prasad, EBC voters seemed to have trusted Nitish Kumar and LJP and HAM (S) failed to consolidate Dalit voters.
But, the unkindest cut for the BJP in this election came from the upper castes of Bihar, who voted for bitter rival Congress.
Of the 16 upper caste candidates fielded by Congress, 12 won. In comparison, the party had fielded 10 Dalit and Muslim candidates each.
Six won from each category. In all, the Congress won 27 of the 41 constituencies it contested. The last time the party had such an impressive performance was in 1995, when it won 29 seats. But then, state Congress president Ashok Choudhary said, the party had contested from 323 constituencies of united Bihar.
“Our upper caste candidates took away 25-30 per cent of upper caste votes in their constituencies. The rest was made up by backward votes of the RJD and JD(U),” he said at state Congress headquarters Sadaqat Ashram.
Congress leader Ashok Kumar Yadav, who is also related to Lalu Prasad, said the movement of upper caste votes was largely because of Nitish Kumar.
It also helped that Choudhary enjoyed a good rapport with the JD(U). He admitted that the Congress accommodated three JD(U)-recommended candidates into the party’s list of 41. “I convinced the party leadership that the candidates at Bhorey, Gobindpur and Manihari were the best possible ones,” he said. All three won on Sunday. When asked if the Congress risked antagonising Lalu Prasad by moving closer to the JD(U), Choudhary said, “But the Bikram candidate is close to Laluji”.
Stressing that the party had aimed at fielding young leaders this time, Choudhary said: “We had 18 first-timers, 16-17 of our candidates were under 40,” he said, adding that number of candidates came through the ranks or from “Congress families.”
It really is a victory for Choudhary. His party, anticipating a loss of face in the polls, had asked him to run the show on his own.
Till Bihar voted in the first two phases, party leaders in Delhi signed off almost every decision by Choudhary. It took media reports after the second phase to convince the Congress that its tally would reach double digits. Choudhary accepted that the Congress campaign gained momentum in the third phase. “I had Rahul Gandhi’s support throughout. That is what he has been doing, empowering state presidents to take their own decisions,” he said.