Its value in these Bihar polls being adjudged on how much it could play the spoiler for former ally JD(U), the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) scored on that count, affecting the chances of Nitish Kumar’s party on about 75 seats. However, the result might have been less than sweet. The LJP that had hoped to pick up four-five seats of the 137 it was contesting — even boasting of forming the government with the BJP — ended up with just one.
At 10.30 pm, the results and trends indicated the worst-ever performance by the LJP since its inception in October 2000 in terms of seats. While in the 2015 Assembly elections (contested in alliance with the BJP), it had got two seats, it had got three in 2010, 10 in October 2005, and 29 in the February 2005 Assembly elections. While its vote share improved from 4.83 per cent last time to 5.7 per cent, it had contested only 42 seats in 2015. The party had stood at second and third place in 36 and two Assembly segments respectively.
Having taken over the LJP charge in the wake of father Ram Vilas Paswan’s illness, Chirag had taken a big gamble in the days before the announcement of the schedule for the Bihar Assembly elections, breaking away from the NDA in the state, and deciding to go solo.
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Its other big gamble, which made its entire strategy as well as the BJP’s suspect, was concentrating its attacks on the JD(U). Except for five seats where the BJP was contesting, the LJP fielded candidates against the JD(U). On some of its seats, it accommodated BJP leaders who had failed to get tickets.
The only seat won by the LJP eventually was Matihani, where Raj Kumar Singh defeated sitting JD(U) MLA Narendra Kumar Singh alias Bogo Singh by a razor-thin margin of 333 votes. However, apart from that loss, the JD(U) would be smarting over the results in at least 30 seats, where the LJP got 10,000 to 50,000 votes, costing it dear. In all, the LJP got over 10,000 votes each in 89 seats.
* Dinara: Represented by the JD(U)’s Jai Kumar Singh. The LJP fielded BJP rebel Rajendra Singh, who got 51,313 votes. The RJD’s Vijay Mandal got 59,541 votes; the JD(U) ended up with 27,252.
* Nokha: LJP candidate got 12,313 votes. The JD(U) ended up at 48,018, behind the RJD’s 65,690 votes.
* Maharajganj: The LJP’s Dr Deoranjan Singh got 18,278 votes, and the Congress’s Vijay Shanker Dubey won with 48,825 votes. The JD(U)’s Hemnarayan Shah got left behind with 46,849 votes.
* Raghunathpur: The LJP’s Manoj Kumar Singh got 49,792 votes, RJD candidate Harishankar Yadav scraped through with 67,757. The JD(U)’s Rajeshwar Chouhan got only 26,162 votes.
* Sasaram: The JD(U)’s Ashok Kumar, who got 56,880 votes, lost to the RJD’s Rajesh Kunar Gupta, who won with 83,303 votes. The LJP’s Rameshwar Chaurasia (a BJP rebel) had got 21,426 votes as per last count.
* Gaighat: The LJP’s Komal Singh got 30,645 votes, putting the RJD’s Niranjan Roy with 48,072 votes ahead of JD(U) candidate M P Yadav’s 43,840 votes.
In the 2010 Assembly elections, the LJP’s vote share was 6.74%, from the 75 seats it contested, winning 3. Its highest ever vote share was in the February 2005 Assembly polls, at 12.62%. It had won 29 seats of the 178 it contested then.
While it might have ended up helping the BJP cause by checking the JD(U), it remains doubtful how much of a use Chirag, without his late father’s might behind him, will hold for the BJP now that the polls are done. Under Chirag’s presidency, the LJP earlier saw all its 33 candidates lose deposits in the Jharkhand Assembly elections the party fought solo. His ambitious decision to contest this year’s Delhi elections had resulted in a similar disaster.
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