Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar today said the defeat of Janata Dal (United) in the Maharajganj Lok Sabha byelection would not affect the party’s alliance with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Kumar’s comment comes after JD(U) candidate PK Shahi cited “inadequate enthusiasm” of local BJP workers as one of the the reasons for his defeat.
The chief minister told mediapersons that JD(U)’s ties with BJP would remain intact.
“The alliance will not be affected (by the defeat). The people in the alliance worked hard in the election,” he said. This was Kumar’s first reaction to his party candidate's defeat at the hands of Lalu Prasad Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
He said Shahi’s loss could not be seen as the defeat of JD(U) as a party.
“The Maharajganj seat was already with the RJD. It has merely retained the seat,” Kumar said.
He pointed out that winning RJD candidate Prabhunath Singh was earlier with the JD(U) and had only joined the RJD in 2010.
Kumar added the bypoll result had shown improvement in JD(U)’s vote share as compared to the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, RJD's Uma Shankar Singh had secured a narrow win by just 2,797 votes over Prabhunath Singh, who was the JD(U) candidate back then.
In the current byelection that was necessitated by the death of Uma Shankar Singh, Prabhunath Singh, now with the RJD, secured 3,81,436 votes.
PK Shahi of the JD(U) bagged 2,44,324 votes while Congress candidate Jitendra Swami, son of late Uma Shankar Singh, trailed far behind with only 33,905 votes.
The chief minister also reacted to RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav’s statement that it was Kumar, not Shahi, who had lost in Maharajganj.
“It seems this single victory has gone to the RJD leaders’ heads,” he said. “Our party has won many elections but we have never behaved in such a way. The RJD leadership is showing its true colours.”
Kumar returned to the state capital after attending a chief ministers’ conference on internal security in New Delhi on Wednesday.