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|October 7, 1999||
BJP alliance wins 40 in Bihar; Laloo loses
The ruling Rashtriya Janata Dal in Bihar suffered a major setback in the general election with its supremo Laloo Prasad Yadav meeting his electoral Waterloo at the hands of his bete noire, Janata Dal-United president Sharad Yadav.
The RJD, which was a force to reckon with even in the 1998 parliamentary election despite the alleged involvement of many of its leaders in the fodder scam, managed to romp home only in seven constituencies.
The BJP had already created a record by winning 22 seats, the highest ever achieved by the party in the state in any Lok Sabha election so far, while its electoral partner the JD-U also made significant inroads into the RJD bastion taking its tally to 18, seven more than what it won last time.
The BJP-JD-U combine bagged 40 seats of the declared 50 -- 80 per cent -- while the remaining 10 seats were shared by the RJD and Congress. The election to four seats will be held on October 28.
Laloo's defeat from Madhepura has given leverage to his political rivals, particularly those in the JD-U, who were once his close friends. Besides the BJP leaders, several JD-U leaders had set their eyes on the chief ministership.
Elated over the BJP's spectacular performance, party leaders demanded immediate election to the state assembly. State BJP president Nandkishore Yadav and leader of the Opposition in the assembly Sushil Kumar Modi said the people had lost faith in the RJD and demanded an immediate assembly election.
Once again, the BJP captured 11 of the 13 seats in south Bihar. It improved its position by wresting Darbhanga and Motihari from the RJD.
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, an important force in southern Bihar, failed to open its account in the Lok Sabha for the second successive election.
Among the notable winners in the BJP-JD-U camp included Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha (Hazaribagh), Defence Minister George Fernandes (Nalanda), former railway ministers Nitish Kumar (Barh) and Ram Vilas Paswan (Hajipur), former Test cricketer Kirti Azad (Darbhanga) and Rita Verma (Dhanbad).
Other seats BJP candidates won are Bagha, Bettiah, Buxar, Chhapra, Dhanbad, Gaya, Giridih, Godda, Gopalganj, Jamshedpur, Jehanabad, Jhanjharpur, Khunti, Kishanganj, Lohardagga, Madhubani, Maharajganj, Motihari, Munger, Muzaffarpur, Nawada, Palamau, Ranchi, Rosera, Saharsa, Sasaram, Sitamarhi and Singhbhum.
The RJD retained Siwan and Vaishali and wrested Araria, Arrah, Bikramganj, Chatra and Sheohar from the BJP-JD-U combine. The Congress wrested Koderma from the BJP and Aurangabad from the JD-U while it retained its Begusarai seat.
The BJP-JD-U alliance threatens to change the political profile of Bihar which will have an assembly election within the next six months.
Political observers feel the verdict in the general election will cast its shadow in the assembly election due next March.
The BJP has been inching into the RJD bastion gradually since the 1989 general election. The party made inroads in south Bihar over the Vananchal issue clinching five seats from the region. It, however, could not make a visible dent in northern Bihar, yet it was successful in eliminating the identity of national parties like the Congress and Janata Dal from the region.
Till 1996, the BJP invasion remained focussed on south Bihar. The scenario started changing drastically in 1998 when the party allied with the Samata Party, a breakaway group of the Janata Dal.
In the 1998 election, the BJP contested 32 seats and won 20, registering a winning percentage of 37 per cent. The Samata Party bagged ten out of 21 seats it contested. It polled 15.74 per cent votes while the BJP netted 24 per cent votes.
Just two years before, in 1996, the BJP had won 18 seats in Bihar but the majority came from the south, which has asked for a separate state for decades. The undivided Janata Dal had then won 22 seats as the non-BJP votes were divided among national and regional parties.
The BJP-JD-U combined has won all the reserved seats in the state except Araria.
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