Patna: It was a big day for the grand alliance of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal United and the Congress in Bihar as it swept six out of the 10 assembly seats that went to polls last week. The BJP was brought down to four seats.
These bypolls were being touted by political pundits as the 'semi-final' before the full-fledged assembly elections scheduled next year.
Ten assembly seats had gone to polls in the state after Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad and Janata Dal United's Nitish Kumar stitched up an alliance to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party. Six out of the 10 seats were won by the BJP in the 2010 Assembly election. The bypolls to the 10 assembly constituencies - Hajipur, Chapra, Mohiuddinagar, Parbatta, Bhagalpur, Rajnagar (SC), Jale, Mohania (SC), Narkatiaganj, Banka - on August 21 were necessitated after representatives to five of them got elected to the Lok Sabha, while the rest fell vacant due to resignations. The voters turnout was around 47 per cent during the bypoll.
Reacting soon after the counting of votes, both Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar thanked the people for their victory while the BJP leaders in the state took responsibility for the dismal performance. "We are very satisfied with the results. There was huge excitement over the 10 assembly by elections in Bihar. People have reposed faith in us," Nitish said. "Voters have rectified their mistake, I thank them for their support," said Lalu Prasad.
BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said, "Bihar bypolls results not as we had expected it to be, as state leaders we take responsibility."
Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar had made several trips to the 10 constituencies in the past few days garnering support for the alliance. On the other hand, no big leaders from outside the state campaigned for NDA candidates and state BJP leaders with LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan and ally Rashtriya Loktantrik Samata Party of Upendra Kushwaha criss-crossed the state to drum up support.
Sources now say that this alliance may be expanding now. JDU leader Nitish Kumar reportedly met Left leaders last week. The JDU has vowed to form a bigger alliance of non-NDA parties before the Bihar Assembly polls in 2015.