Losing the Maharajganj Lok Sabha byelection was not a JD-U defeat as the RJD had won the seat in 2009 and had now just retained it, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said on Thursday, a day after the results of Sunday's polling were announced.
"It is not at all a defeat of the JD-U (Janata Dal-United) because it was an RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) seat and it retained it," Nitish Kumar, who arrived in Patna from New Delhi where he attended the chief ministers' conference, told reporters.
The RJD, he said, had won the seat in 2009. "What is new in it? The RJD has again won it. It was not a JD-U seat," he said.
He also downplayed reports that the result was also a personal defeat.
"After victory, the RJD has a habit of boasting. We never do such a thing after victory. The JD-U had been winning in election after election."
He also ruled out any impact of the by-election result on the alliance between the JD-U and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
On Wednesday, JD-U candidate PK Shahi, who is also state education minister, said local BJP workers were responsible for his defeat as they did not cooperate with him.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad was quick to react to Nitish Kumar's comments. "What should we do after a big win if not boast?"
He said the ruling JD-U had been defeated by the people.
RJD nominee Prabhunath Singh defeated his nearest rival Shahi by a margin of over 1.37 lakh votes, one of the highest winning margins in by-polls in the state in the last decade.