In a keenly fought bypoll in Kurhani Assembly constituency in north Bihar, the BJP’s Kedar Prasad Gupta defeated the JD(U) candidate Manoj Singh Kushwaha by 3,632 votes.
In the 2020 assembly poll, the BJP candidate had lost to RJD candidate Anil Kumar Sahani by about 700 votes. The bypoll in Kurhani was necessitated after Sahani was disqualified from the State assembly after he was sentenced to jail in a fraud case.
In a tough battle of Kurhani bypoll, Mr. Gupta defeated mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) candidate from JD(U). The BJP candidate got 76,648 votes while Mr. Kushwaha received 73,016 votes.
The Vikashil Insaan Party — led by Mukesh Sahani, popularly known as “Son of Mallah” — which fielded Neelabh Kumar got over 8,500 votes, while the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) candidate Ghulam Murtaza got over 3,000 votes in the bypoll.
After the Kurhani bypoll win, the BJP demanded Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s resignation.
“Now after defeat in Kurhani bypoll, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar should resign from his post as he had done after his party had got only two seats in 2014 Lok Sabha poll,” said senior state BJP leader and party Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Modi.
Mr. Modi also said that “despite all efforts by seven parties alliance of mahagathbandhan and emotional card played on Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad’s kidney transplant, the BJP won the Kurhani seat in the bypoll”.
“Kurhani bypoll had become a prestige issue for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as he had done several poll meetings there, so he should now resign from his post,” said Mr. Modi.
The BJP leaders and workers gathered at state party headquarters and played colour on drum beats to greet each other over the Kurhani bypoll win.
In the counting it was a flip-flop for both the BJP and JD(U) candidates winning the rounds but after 19 round of counting BJP candidate took the lead and never trailed by his rival Manoj Singh Kushwaha of JD(U).
Both the VIP and AIMIM candidates, though, had made the Kurhani bypoll battle tough for both the candidates making dent into their respective vote banks.
“Nitish Kumar’s party had fielded VIP candidate to cut votes of BJP but he failed. Mr. Kumar’s Extremely Backward Class (EBC) vote now has been shifted to the BJP,” claimed BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi.
VIP had fielded an upper caste Neelabh Kumar from Bhumihar community as party candidate who got over 8,500 votes.
However, JD(U) leaders accused BJP for putting up AIMIM candidate to make dent into mahagathbandhan votes in Kurhani. The AIMIM candidate got over 3,000 votes in Kurhani bypoll.
Earlier, the BJP had also won Gopalganj bypoll defeating the RJD candidate but had lost the Mokama bypoll to RJD candidate Neelam Devi.
The Kurhani constituency has over 3.11 lakh voters with its estimated scheduled caste (SC) population of 18.4%.
After JD(U) had snapped ties with BJP in August this year to form the mahagathbandhan government with Rashtriya Janata Dal and other parties, both BJP and JD(U) for the first time, were pitched in direct contest against each other in Kurhani bypoll.
This time RJD after its alliance with JD(U) has decided to back the JD(U) candidate in quid-pro-quo as in recently held bypolls on Mokama and Gopalganj seats, JD(U) had supported RJD candidates.
For the first time after making an alliance, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav had campaigned jointly in Kurhani on December 2. JD(U) president Rajeev Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh too had campaigned extensively in the constituency to ensure defeat of the BJP candidate.
Altogether 13 candidates were in the fray, though, the contest was direct between JD(U) candidate Manoj Singh Kushwaha and BJP’s Kedar Prasad Gupta.
Both the candidates had won the seat in previous polls for their respective parties.
The BJP candidate Kedar Prasad Gupta in Kurhani bypoll, though, had got support of two factions of Lok Janshakti Party-led by Union minister Pashupati Kumar Paras and the other by his nephew Chirag Paswan.