Bihar Assembly Elections | No kingmaker, but LJP dented JD(U)

It did not win a single seat and has hurt NDA

November 10, 2020 06:59 pm | Updated November 11, 2020 01:42 am IST - New Delhi

LJP president Chirag Paswan. File

LJP president Chirag Paswan. File

Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP) president Chirag Paswan wanted to play the kingmaker’s role , but ended up with total annihilation of his party. He did not win a single seat and secured the second spot in eight seats in the Bihar Assembly polls for 243 constituencies.

Also read: Bihar will win and a new young Bihar will be made, says Chirag Paswan

Mr. Paswan, who had claimed during poll campaign that he is ‘Hanuman’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has hurt the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). There are at least 27 seats where the margin by which the JD(U) lost to ‘Mahagatbandhan’ is the same as the number of votes polled in favour of the LJP.

He roped in 25 former BJP leaders who couldn’t manage to get a ticket. The gamble just did not pay off. In Dinara, he fielded senior leader Rajendra Singh, an old RSS hand. Mr. Singh lost by nearly 3,000 votes. In Bhagalpur, the LJP got Deputy Mayor Rajesh Verma to contest against the Congress but he too lost. It is telling that in Hasanpur, Lalu Prasad’s son and Tejashwi Yadav’s brother Tej Pratap Yadav could win only because the LJP polled nearly 10,000 votes, which is his victory margin against the JD(U).

Even in face of his sustained campaign against Nitish Kumar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not explicitly rebuke Mr. Paswan, giving the impression that the BJP was on board with his move.

Also read: Chirag Paswan keeps up attack on Bihar CM in his campaign

Till the eve of the results, the LJP was confident of spoiling the JD(U)’s chances on 60 seats and winning at least 10 for themselves. The results were shocking for the party. Mr. Paswan has maintained radio silence since morning.

Third solo show

This is the third instance that the LJP, since its formation in 2000, has gone solo. In February 2005, it won 29 seats out of the 178 it fought on cornering nearly 18 per cent of the vote share. Within a few months, in October, they were on a decline, winning only 10 out of the 203 seats they contested, getting 11.10 per cent vote share. Tuesday’s results are starkly different from these two elections. This time around, their vote share marginally increased from 4.83 per cent in 2015 to 5.63 per cent.

And the defeat could not have come at the worst time for the party with its founder Ramvilas Paswan’s death on the eve of the elections on October 8. The results raises many questions, on what will be the LJP’s position in Bihar where Mr. Nitish Kumar returns as Chief Minister. It remains to be seen whether the BJP will forgive the LJP enough to give it the Rajya Sabha berth vacated on Ramvilas Paswan’s death and whether Mr. Paswan gets the Cabinet berth his father had?

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