Bihar election results 2020: In initial trends LJP proves to be a double-edged sword
Fifteen years after the late Ram Vilas Paswan famously declared that he was happy despite his Lok Janshakti Party winning only 10 seats in the Bihar assembly polls because he had accomplished his mission of derailing the ruling RJD, his party now helmed by his son Chirag modified that template for the 2020 election.
“We have accomplished our mission. People of Bihar wanted to get rid of the RJD regime and that has happened,” Ram Vilas Paswan had said after the 2005 Bihar assembly election that ended the 15-year Lalu-Rabri rule.
Chirag Paswan has tried to do it again, though this time the target was different, the strategy a little more complex and the impact not what the party may have expected. It has ended up helping RJD gain, with the initial trend showing Grand Alliance leading on nearly half of the 137 seats the LJP contested.
The LJP lost in 2005, but it helped in decimating its then main target – the RJD – to pave the way for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government under Nitish Kumar. This time it seems to have not achieved its target of reducing Nitish Kumar’s size to that extent, but it has dropped below the BJP’s count – the first time it has happened since 2005.
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The LJP’s own performance, however, remains almost similar. If it had to be content with just 10 seats out of the 204 it contested in 2005, this time it could be even less out of the 137 it contested this time. It has been able to pull JD-U down, but not to the extent it had hoped for.
Initial trends show the NDA and the GA locked in a see-saw battle. Almost all exit polls had given GA the lead, though with varying margins, but the trends show the contest could go to the wire.
How much difference the LJP has been able to make whether its strategy worked, will be known once the details of counting start emerging. But it is becoming increasingly apparent that it may have also helped RJD gain on the seats contested by the JD-U due to the LJP’s presence.
“If the JD-U has done what it looks like despite the oft-quoted anti-incumbency factor against Nitish Kumar, it is commendable. It means that the people have en masse not fallen for the 10-lakh job offer and reposed faith in Nitish Kumar’s development model and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words that he wanted the Bihar CM to be at the helm,” said political analyst Prof Ajay Jha.
The LJP’s ability to erode votes seems to have definitely cut both ways – for the JD-U as well as for the Grand Alliance. However, GA seems to be a clear gainer due to the NDA’s internecine battle.
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