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    Bihar Polls: Despite Onions Hurled at Him, Nitish's 'Alan Evans Shot' Opens New Poll Arithmetic in Madhubani

    File photo of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. (PTI)

    File photo of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. (PTI)

    Though the onions missed the target, Kumar’s ‘arrow’ in alliance with the BJP hit bulls-eye by securing five of the six Assembly seats in Madhubani Lok Sabha constituencies – more hits than legendary dart player Alan Evans in the 1970s.

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    Sujit Nath

    It was on November 3 in Harlakhi in Madhubani Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar. Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar was in the middle of his speech when someone from the crowd threw onions at him.

    Though it missed the target, Kumar’s ‘arrow’ (political symbol) in alliance with the BJP hit bulls-eye by securing five of the six Assembly seats in Madhubani Lok Sabha constituencies – more hits than legendary dart player Alan Evans in the 1970s.

    Kumar's ‘Alan Evans Shot’ (as popularly known) – despite facing criticism while campaigning in Madhubani – has stunned opposition leaders.

    Back to the dais as onions started flying, Kumar’s security swung into action and formed a human chain in front of him. The accused was caught but an infuriated Kumar asked police to release him. “Khub pheko, khub pheko (keep on throwing),” Nitish Kumar was heard shouting at the man.

    JDU's Sudhanshu Shekhar, who emerged victorious with 60,393 votes by defeating CPI’s Ram Naresh Pandey in Harlakhi, said, “It is true, some people during Nitish ji’s public meeting in my constituency tried to create a problem. They hurled onions and also someone in the crowd was heard using objectionable comments. But despite that we won five out of six seats in Madhubani.”

    When asked why voters were inclined towards JD (U) despite an anti-Nitish undercurrent in Madhubani, Shekhar said, “Actually the undercurrent was created by opposition leaders. There was no undercurrent on the ground. The fact behind winning five seats is that a large number of women voters silently voted for us. Also we have the support of the ‘Bania’ and ‘Kushwaha’ community.”

    Known as Bihar’s cultural capital, Madhubani has been dominated by Brahmins who make up around 35% of the population in this Mithilanchal region, followed by nearly 19.5% Muslims, 11% ‘Nishad’ population, 5.9% Vaishyas besides sizable numbers of Rajputs and Bhumihars.

    Shekhar said apart from general caste-based preferences of voters, women played a crucial role. “Our janta has given a befitting reply to those who hurled onions at Nitish Kumar ji,” he added.

    Madhubani Lok Sabha constituency comprises six assembly segments after reorganisation in 1976, including Harlakhi, Benipatti, Bisfi, Madhubani, Keoti and Jale. While Harlakhi, Benipatti, Bisfi and Madhubani are in Madhubani district, Keoti and Jale are in Darbhanga district.

    In Benipatti, Vinod Narayan Jha of BJP defeated Bhawana Jha of Congress. In Bisfi, Haribhushan Thakur ‘Bachol’ of BJP won with 86,574 votes by defeating RJD’s Faiyaz Ahmad. In Keoti, BJP’s Murari Mohan Jha won by defeating Abdul Bari Siddiqui of RJD and in Jale, Jibesh Kumar of BJP won against Congress’s Maskoor Ahmad Usmani.

    Madhubani assembly is the only seat secured by RJD’s Samir Kumar Mahaseth. He defeated Suman Kumar Mahaseth of Vikassheel Insaan Party.

    When contacted, senior RJD leader and former state finance minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui said, “Why we failed to perform well in Madhubani is difficult to answer.”

    When asked if the onion controversy went in favour of the NDA, he said, “The party will evaluate and certainly we will be able to pinpoint the lapses.”

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