Bihar's ruling Janata Dal (United) on Monday coasted to an easy win in the Daraunda by-election in Siwan district, routing the Rashtriya Janata Dal-Lok Jan Shakti Party combine and the Congress.
JD(U) nominee Kavita Singh trounced RJD candidate Parmeshwar Singh by a margin of more than 20,000 votes.
With the win, the JD(U)'s tally in the 243-seat Assembly is 117, while its ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party, has 92 seats. The National Democratic Alliance's total is 209 seats.
The RJD-LJP combine is now down to 23 legislators and the LJP has just one MLA.
The by-election followed the death of JD(U) legislator Jagmato Devi in June and the party gave the ticket to her newly-wed daughter in-law, Ms. Singh.
Despite some hectic campaigning by RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Ms. Singh won along expected lines, polling 51,754 votes, against 31,662 votes secured by Parmeshwar Singh, who was propped up by party strongmen such as Mohd. Shahabuddin and Prabhunath Singh.
JD(U) leader and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said the victory proved that the ruling party candidate had full support on the ground, polling 50 per cent more votes than in the 2010 polls.
RJD MP Ram Kripal Yadav, while accepting defeat, noted the increase in his party's vote share. The very fact portended well for the party in the near future, he said.
Nine in fray
There were as many as nine candidates, including three women, in the fray. Polling took place on October 13, in which 44 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise.