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Has the alarm bell begun ringing for Nitish govt?

india Updated: Jun 05, 2013 20:06 IST
Ashok Mishra

RJD president Lalu Prasad termed the Maharajganj bypoll result as the beginning of the fall of the Nitish Kumar government.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) candidate, Prabhunath Singh, a three-time MP, trounced chief minister Nitish Kumar's handpicked NDA candidate PK Shahi by over 1.09 lakh votes on Wednesday.

Prasad said the poll outcome was an indication of things to come in the 2014 general elections for Bihar's 40 seats as well.

This is the first ever defeat for Kumar since his victory in November 2005 state assembly elections, which catapulted him into power.

While the bypoll result has raised hopes of resurgence for RJD and its chief Lalu Prasad, who is looking forward to make a great comeback in the state and national politics, the electoral loss has dented the image of Kumar as an established leader of Bihar.

The Maharajganj bypoll was critical for the JD-U's essay onto national stage at a time when Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and Bihar CM were being looked upon as potential prime ministerial candidates for 2014.

While Modi was able to wrest all the six seats in the Gujarat by-elections, Nitish lost the crucial Lok Sabha seat in Bihar.

The poll outcome has also indicated that Modi-bashing by Kumar paid little dividends. While it angered the upper castes, it could not win the votes of the Muslims, as expected by the JD-U party strategists in Bihar.

The JD-U leadership will now have to improve its ties with the BJP if it wants the alliance to remain strong in the state.

The JD-U candidate, PK Shahi while accepting his defeat had said: “There was lack of enthusiasm among NDA workers at the grassroot level."

However, he was quick to point out: "It's my loss and it should be seen as such. It does not in any way take away the credibility of our leader Nitish Kumar."

The Congress candidate, Jitendra Swami, the late RJD parliamentarian, Umashankar Singh's son, lost his deposit in the by-election.