Home > Assembly Elections 2005 >
In Bihar NDA has size, Paswan strength
rediff.com Newsdesk |
February 27, 2005 09:09 IST
Last Updated: February 27, 2005 17:24 IST
Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad's 15-year run in Bihar seemed to be coming to an end on Sunday as the National Democratic Alliance, comprising the Bharatiya Janata Party and Janata Dal-United, emerged as the largest pre-poll coalition in the state.
The NDA won 91 of the 243 seats in the assembly. The RJD and its allies won 78, the Congress 11, the Lok Janshakti Party 28 and Others 35.
Though the result was not so good for the RJD, Lalu was not ready to throw in the towel. At a press conference in Patna in the evening, he said he would stake claim to form the government since it was the single largest party and had the support of outfits like the Communist Party of India, the CPI-Marxist and the Nationalist Congress Party.
"The NDA's dream of ruling Bihar will remain just that," an angry Lalu said, adding that the mandate was for "secular parties".
He also said that he had not yet taken into account Independents.
At around the same time in New Delhi, outside 10, Janpath, Congress president Sonia Gandhi's residence, party leader Ambika Soni announced that Gandhi would speak to Lalu and LJP leader Ramvilas Paswan in an effort to bring them together to form a "secular government".
The meeting was likely to take place in New Delhi on Monday evening, she said.
The statement came after Gandhi met her party colleagues to review the outcome of the polls.
But the day belonged to Paswan. With 28 seats in his kitty, everyone wanted to know which side the "kingmaker" would he go with.
When it became clear that the verdict would be fractured, NDA leaders lost no time in making it clear that they would want Paswan on their side.
"If you have a deadlocked assembly, not just a hung assembly, one of the options is to negotiate with someone who can form the government," BJP party general secretary Arun Jaitley said in New Delhi when asked whether his party would support Paswan to keep the RJD out of power.
Earlier, Jaitely's party colleague, Shahnawaz Hussain, said as much.
"If Paswan sticks to his position of not supporting the RJD in any situation, then we will form the government. JD-U chief Nitish Kumar had made an offer (of chief ministership) to him. In Bihar our fight is not to get power but to oust the RJD and free the people from its misrule," Hussain said.
There were also reports of some RJD leaders seeking Paswan's help.
But Paswan kept his cards close to his chest. In an effort to increase his bargaining power, he said he wanted President's rule in the state.
He called a press conference at Patna's Maurya Hotel, where he was staying, and said, "I will stand like a rock on my stand to oust the RJD."
He also added that he did not want to become chief minister.
Rabri Devi: The chief minister won from Raghopur by a margin of 25,261 votes. Her nearest rival was Rajiv Ranjan of the LJP.
Vijay Kumar Shukla alias Munna Shukla: A dreaded don, he is brother of notorious criminal Chhotan Shukla, who was killed a few years back in a gang war.
Munna Shukla, who himself is an accused in murder cases, won from Lalganj by a margin of 17,889 votes. Up against him was Veena Devi of the RJD.
Shivanand Tiwari: He won from Shahpur.
Indira Yadav: Wife of RJD Member of Parliament Anirudh Prasad alias Sadhu Yadav, she had contested as an Independent from Gopalganj.
Sadhu Yadav, who represents Gopalganj in the Lok Sabha, is Rabri Devi's brother.
Miffed by the fact that his brother-in-law Lalu Prasad had not given a ticket to Indira, he had made her enter the fray as an Independent.
She lost to the Bahujan Samaj Party's Reyazul Haque alias Raju.
The eldest of the CM's three brothers, he too wanted an RJD ticket, but Lalu had not obliged.
He stood as an Independent from Mirganj and was defeated by the JD-U's Ramsewak Singh.
He is don of eastern UP and Champaran and an accused in the murder of Communist Party of India-Marxist legislator Ajit Sarkar.
He contested the Gobindganj seat on an LJP ticket.
Ranjit Don is accused of running a nationwide scam of leaking test papers for the Common Admission Test.
He had earlier knocked Lalu Prasad's door but was not given a ticket. He then approached Paswan, who gave him a ticket from Hilsa.
Ranjit Don had contested the general election as an Independent and lost.
He has been lodged in Beur Jail since his arrest nearly a year ago.
Complete Coverage: Assembly Elections 2005