The results of the 24 legislative council seats has evoked mixed reaction with the rival formations interpreting it in their own ways.
Playing down the political impact of the outcome, which saw the NDA taking a lead, chief minister and the face of JD(U)led grand alliance Nitish Kumar said, “This is not an election where common people vote. If the BJP wants to be so happy about it, let them be. They, anyway, like to live in a fantasy world.”
But Kumar’s words could not pour water on BJP’s enthusiasm. Buoyed by the results, the BJP said that it was a sure public endorsement of NDA’s mission to win the ensuing assembly polls with a thumping majority.
At a hurriedly convened joint press meet, senior BJP leaders Sushil Kumar Modi, Nand Kishore Yadav and state president Mangal Pandey said, the NDA would have swept the council polls if the JD (U) led ruling coalition had not misused its power to influence the voters.
They cited the instance of Nalanda, where a circular was issued by the rural development department, at the behest of its minister just before the elections, to force voters to support the JD(U) nominee or be ready to face the consequences.
They also took on the chief minister, who, they maintained, had described the council polls as a semi-final to the assembly polls. Wondering whether Kumar still stood by his words, Modi said, “The council poll results are a reflection of the general mood as at least one or two voters from each of about 42,000 villages participate in the process giving it a wide representative character.”
The national spokesperson of RJD Manoj Jha also stuck to the line of JD (U), saying “Council polls should not be equated with assembly elections as the profile of the electorate does not represent 6.5 crore voters of the state.” He, however, admitted that the RJD would do a ‘course correction’ after analysing the poll performance.
But the fledgling HAM party leader and former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi was caustic in his remark. “The victory of NDA amply indicates, that the people of the state and elected local body representatives were not happy with the policies of the present government,” he said, adding: “I term the council polls as semifinal. Now it is clear that the NDA will form the government with a two-thirds majority.”
Former minister and HAM leader Nitish Mishra said, “People of the state have rejected the mega alliance as they had given their mandate to NDA against Nitish Kumar’s leadership and against the RJD and Congress. These results clearly indicate that people of Bihar have completely lost faith in the ruling alliance”, he said.
The Congress, however, jumped in to defend the loss as ‘inconsequential’.
“This poll is different from general elections, which has common people as voters. The BJP should not live in a fool’s paradise that the outcome of general assembly elections can be managed the same way with the help of its money power,” said Ashok Chaudhary, president, PCC.
The CPI-ML, on its part, condemned both the BJP and JD (U)-led grand alliance for using money, muscle and manipulation to register win in the council polls.
“The Left alliance fought the polls on the basis of its policies. And, though, success eluded it, people have welcomed the third pole and we will continue our struggle,” said state secretary, Kunal.
Union minister for chemicals and fertilisers Ananth Kumar on Friday said the countdown of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad has begun following the verdict of the state’s legislative council elections in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“The election results which have come out today have very clearly shown which way the wind is blowing; it is definitely the BJP and NDA. In the outgoing legislative council, we were only five, now the tally will be 30. And this entire election is from the local bodies that means the voters are from all the 42,000 villages. Therefore, this has very clearly shown that the trend in Bihar is clearly towards BJP and NDA and the countdown of Lalu, Nitish has begun,” the BJP leader said.
“It’s a pointer that the entire Bihar has decided that they are going to bring Bharatiya Janata Party and NDA, they are going to give a mandate to BJP and NDA, and they are going to reject the Lalu, Nitish combination,” he stressed. Kumar, who is the BJP’s in-charge for Bihar, also thanked the voters and local body representatives for this historic verdict.
“With great humility and satisfaction, we accept this responsibility. And we only request them that they should translate this result as a huge mandate for Bharatiya Janata Party and NDA in the ensuing assembly elections,” he said.