The Nitish Kumar-led NDA dealt a deadly blow to the RJD-LJP-led Fourth Front when it swept the Lok Sabha polls in Bihar. The NDA claimed 33 of the 40 seats on call, decimating the caste-governed political dynamics of the state since 1990.
Among its top victims were Lalu Prasad, the RJD chief, who capitulated in Pataliputra, losing by over 25,000 votes and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, who lost for the first time since 1977 by a similar margin. Both stalwarts lost to old hands — Ranjan Prasad Yadav and Ram Sundar Das — recalled from political oblivion by the JD-U.
The results demonstrated an overwhelming yearning for positive change and a huge public sentiment against criminalisation of politics. Fittingly, all candidates backed by a criminal past or association lost, including the JD-U's Prabhunath Singh from Maharajganj and Munna Shukla from Vaishali.
The astounding NDA score demonstrated that caste was no more an issue for it sliced through the Yadav heartland of the Kosi, scoring facile wins in Madhepura, Supaul, Araria and Khagaria. The ultimate verdict on Kosi was thus delivered, where despite the heavy migration since August last year, the devastated plainsmen gave a resounding thumbs-up to the state’s efforts at rehabilitation.
The NDA sweep was most comprehensive across all linguistic divisions and spread from east to west and north to south. It spared only the Congress’s Meira Kumar in Sasaram and Maulana Asrarul Haque in Kishanganj.
Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan were quick to concede defeat in Pataliputra and Hajipur. “We did our work. Strangely, it did not register. But we are happy that the secular bloc has won in the country,” said Paswan.
Lalu admitted, “The people have rejected us”. A jubilant Nitish Kumar ascribed the win to the people rejecting “the politics of caste hatred” and voting for development.