Rout in Delhi assembly election turns spotlight on NDA in Bihar
“Janta malik hai (People are the judge).” This was what Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal (United) president Nitish Kumar said when asked about the Delhi assembly results on Tuesday.
His one-line comment on the sidelines of function organised to unveil a statue of RSS ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay in Patna sums the pessimistic mood in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar where assembly elections are due later this year.
Nitish Kumar’s JD (U) contested two seats in Delhi assembly seats – Burari and Sangam Vihar – and finished second on both constituencies. In Burari, it got 22.72% of total votes polled against 1.11% of the RJD, while in Sangam Vihar, the JD (U) got 28.73% votes.
The party for the first time contested polls in alliance with the BJP in any state outside Bihar. All the three regional parties from Bihar, the JD (U), RJD and the LJP failed to open their account in the Delhi polls.
The party is emboldened with its performance vis-à-vis the performance of the BJP. “Successive setbacks in Jharkhand and Delhi polls have once again put the BJP under pressure ahead of Bihar assembly elections,” said a NDA leader wishing not to be named.
“We got more than 50,000 votes, came second on both the seats. Those who were putting question marks on JD (U) need to introspect themselves,” said JD (U) spokesperson Rajeev Ranjan Prasad, hinting at the opposition tirade.
Moreover, the result of the Delhi elections has been received with a sense of relief by the JD(U) as the party will now be even more hopeful that Nitish Kumar’s detractors in the BJP will be kept on a tight leash. The BJP’s tally in Delhi remained in single digit.
After the Lok Sabha polls last year, several BJP leaders in the state had begun to make statements that time had come for the saffron party to stake claim for the chief minister’s post, thereby threatening to end the alliance with the JD(U).
The matter was put to rest by the then BJP national president Amit Shah who announced, not once but twice that NDA will contest polls under Nitish Kumar. But NDA sources said that Kumar will once again have an upper hand when it comes to seat-sharing talks.
Despite the hammering in Delhi, the BJP unit in Bihar has put up a brave face.
“The election result of Delhi has reflected the local sentiment of the voters and it has nothing to do with Bihar politics. BJP as well as our NDA allies, JDU and LJP are busy in strengthening the organisational structure at the grassroot level in Bihar. NDA will sweep the 2020 assembly election in Bihar under the leadership of CM Nitish Kumar,” said BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand.
“If AAP won on development agenda, it augurs well for the JD (U)-BJP combine in Bihar,” said JD (U) leader Major Iqbal Haider. “There is no hole in the alliance and NDA is a strong force in state,” he added.
Political observers are waiting for likely repercussions of the Delhi results to show up soon. “But one thing is clear that the JD (U) is losing its credentials and is blindly supporting the BJP policies. We do not see any difference between the BJP and the JD (U). Emotive politics does not pay always,” said political analyst, D M Diwakar of A N Sinha Institute for Social Studies.