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Bihar bypolls: RJD wins Jehanabad and Araria, BJP wins Bhabhua

RJD legislators celebrate outside Bihar Assembly in Patna.   | Photo Credit: Ranjeet Kumar

The by-poll results in Bihar on Wednesday had no surprises. Like in the last elections, Rashtriya Janata Dal retained the Araria Lok Sabha seat and the Jehanabad Assembly constituency, while the BJP repeated its winning performance in the Bhabhua Assembly seat. But, the results sent a strong message across the State as it was the first electoral battle after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar allegedly betrayed the RJD to join hands again with the BJP to remain in power. Also Opposition RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav was leading the Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) in the absence of his father and party chief Lalu Prasad.

In Araria, RJD candidate Sarfaraj Alam, who had quit the JD(U) to fight the election on the RJD ticket defeated BJP candidate Pradeep Kumar Singh by a comfortable margin of nearly 60,000 votes. The minority-dominated (41%) Araria seat fell vacant after the death of RJD MP Mohd Taslimuddin, father of Sarfaraj Alam.

“It’s a win for Laluji’s ideology and my father Taslimuddin saheb’s thinking…every segment of society voted for me”, Mr. Alam told the media in Araria. Mr. Pradeep Singh had won the Araria seat in the 2009 parliamentary poll.

Both the political blocks of the State, BJP-led NDA and RJD-led Grand Alliance had put in all efforts to win the Araria Lok Sabha by-poll. All top State leaders from both sides were seen campaigning hard in the constituency. However, after 20 rounds of counting of votes, the BJP candidate accepted his defeat and accused some local party leaders of “internal sabotage.”

The mood in the RJD-led Grand Alliance was upbeat as Mr. Tejashwi Yadav said, “Now Nitish Kumar should repent his decision…with the Araria and UP wins it is clear that a similar alliance is needed at the national level too as sought by my father Lalu Prasad. The Congress too should come along.”

But Mr. Tejashwi also apprehended that, “after these wins, the CBI, I-T and ED raids will become more frequent in Bihar and U.P.” Thanking people for their support, party chief Lalu Prasad tweeted, “now the lantern will become brighter.”

Senior RJD leader Shivanand Tiwari said “Nitish Kumar should now resign as the people of Araria and Jehanabad have rejected his decision to dump the RJD.”

The jubilant RJD leaders smeared gulal on each other’s face, played Holi (festival of colour) in the Assembly premises and shouted slogans in favour of Mr. Tejashwi Yadav.

However, BJP MP from Nawada and Union Minister Giriraj Singh told journalists that “the electoral game the RJD is playing will not only be dangerous for Bihar but for the country as well.”

Mr. Singh, earlier, had said that “if the RJD candidate wins the poll in Araria, the district will become a place for traitors.” Similarly, State BJP chief Nityanand Rai too had made the controversial statement that, “if Sarfaraj Alam wins the poll, Araria will become a hub of ISI.” Later, an FIR too was lodged against Mr. Rai for “violating the model code of conduct.”

After the poll result, Mr. Rain said, “no party won or lost. RJD retained its two seats and BJP one.”

In the Jehanabad Assembly constituency, RJD candidate Krishna Mohan Yadav alias Suday Yadav won the bypoll by defeating ruling Janata Dal (United) candidate Abhiram Sharma by a huge margin of 35,036 votes. The Jehanabad seat fell vacant after the death of Mundrika Singh Yadav, RJD MLA and father of Suday Yadav. Similarly, BJP candidate Rinki Rani Pandey retained the Bhabhua seat for the party by defeating Congress candidate Shambhu Singh Patel by a margin of over 15,000 votes. The Bhabhua by-poll was necessitated by the death of BJP MLA Anand Bhushan Pandey, husband of Rinki Rani Pandey.

“The verdict has gone in favour of the Tejashwi Yadav-led alliance leaving Nitish Kumar to rethink his political strategy,” political analyst Ajay Kumar told The Hindu.

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The photo caption has been corrected. The RJD members were celebrating their party's win outside Bihar Assembly premises not outside the party headquarters as mentioned earlier.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 2:10:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/rjd-wins-jehanabad-assembly-seat-leading-in-araria-lok-sabha-bypoll/article23243346.ece

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