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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

Poll results pep up Bihar opposition, NDA puts up a brave face

The mood in the JD(U) and BJP offices, which are at a stone’s throw from each other, was quiet, even as their leaders tried to put up a brave front in the face of disturbing initial trends from all five states

assembly-elections Updated: Dec 12, 2018 09:26 IST

Hindustan Times, Patna
Congress leaders and supporters celebrating after their party good performance in the five state assembly poll in Patna, India, on Tuesday
Congress leaders and supporters celebrating after their party good performance in the five state assembly poll in Patna, India, on Tuesday(Parwaz Khan /HT PHOTO)
         

In 2014, Nitish was not with in NDA, but joined later after ditching RJD; HAM-S and RLSP were, but both are out now. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) did not have much stake in the five states that went to polls, but the celebrations at its office in Patna, to match the fervour in the Congress camp as the results started trickling in, was a clear indication of what it meant for the party and the Opposition.

The mood in the JD(U) and BJP offices, which are at a stone’s throw from each other, was quiet, even as their leaders tried to put up a brave front in the face of disturbing initial trends from all five states. Chhattisgarh, some of them admitted by afternoon, was a shocker.

The former NDA allies, former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM)-Secular and former union minister Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), were euphoric and seeking credit for the much-awaited turnaround.

“Manjhi switching over to the Grand Alliance has augured well. Ever since he joined, the Opposition has been scripting victories and it would continue even in 2019,” said HAM-S spokesman Danish Rizwan, adding that the verdict was a warning bell for the ruling dispensation in Bihar also.

A day after leaving the NDA, Kushwaha was also quick to hit back. “In democracy, only people’s mandate wins. Rhetoric gets exposed one day. Many thanks to Rahul Gandhi,” he tweeted, in a clear indication of where he is headed to.

Their statements have put the focus on the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar. While chief minister Nitish Kumar did not make any remark on the poll verdict, the generally active Twitter account of deputy CM Sushil Kumar was also quiet. Senior NDA leaders were said to be waiting for the final verdict, hoping for the Madhya Pradesh cliffhanger to swing their way as a saving grace.

Like in Chhattisgarh, the NDA has been in power in Bihar since 2005, barring a brief stint in 2015-16 when Nitish Kumar stitched Grand Alliance (GA) with the RJD and the Congress to rout the BJP in the assembly elections before getting back into the NDA fold in 2017.

In 2014, Nitish Kumar was not with the NDA, but HAM-S and RLSP were. Both are out now. “Who next? Keep a watch. GA is growing. There is room for strains in NDA, as was witnessed during the recent Patna University students’ union polls, in which the JD(U) and the BJP fought a bitter battle in a low-stake poll. Opposition has tasted the joy of unity this time and will not like to fritter it away,” said a senior RJD leader.

JD (U) Rajya Sabha member RCP Singh, however, said the Vidhan Sabha elections verdict in five states would not have any impact in Bihar, where the NDA remains as firm as ever and would do well in the general elections next year.

“India is a democracy. One party wins and another will lose. This is its beauty. Congress was out of power in those states and now they have got the opportunity. In monarchy, one family keeps ruling. We have a strong coalition in Bihar and we will do well,” he said.

JD(U) general secretary Sanjay Jha said that assembly and parliamentary polls were different battles. “Don’t compare chalk and cheese. After 15 years of rule, a government is bound to face anti-incumbency. Perhaps, the yardstick for the BJP is too stiff. Yet, BJP has done well in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, which goes to its credit. Ours is a tested alliance in Bihar and it remains strong,” he said.

First Published: Dec 12, 2018 09:26 IST

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