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|November 29, 1998||
RJD bags 3 out of 4 by-elections in Bihar
The ruling Rashtriya Janata Dal has retained three assembly seats and the Communist Party of India-Marxist one in by-elections to the four Bihar assembly constituencies that were held on November 25.
State Samata party president Raghunath Jha was defeated by RJD candidate Thakur Ratnakar in Sheohar by 16,566 votes. The by-election was necessitated after Jha resigned from the RJD and joined the Samata party.
RJD nominee Annapurna Devi was declared elected from Koderma where she defeated Ramesh Singh (BJP) by over 21,000 votes. Annapurna Devi is the wife of the late state minister Ramesh Prasad Singh whose death led to the by-election.
In Adapur, RJD candidate Shyam Bihari Prasad defeated CPI-M nominee Virendra Prasad by 12,383 votes. The seat fell vacant following the murder of minister Brij Bihari Prasad in Patna.
CPI-M nominee Madhvi Sarkar was elected from Purnia defeating the BJP's Sudhir Prasad Chowdhury by 28,267 votes. Sarkar was given the party ticket following the murder of her husband Ajit Sarkar who held this seat.
As if mocking the hard times facing RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav, the party, with three of the four seats to which by-elections were held under its belt, has emerged triumphant.
The RJD retained three and the CPI-M one sending shock waves through the BJP-Samata combine and the Janata Dal which were routed in the election.
Considered a political heavyweight in Bihar politics, Raghunath Jha's defeat -- and by such a large margin -- may have serious implications for the Samata party.
Madhavi Sarkar rode the sympathy wave and RJD support to emerge victorious. Interestingly, while the RJD supported the CPI-M nominee in Purnia, it contested against the Left candidate in Adapur. The RJD supported the CPI-M in Purnia for strategic reasons; it faced a tirade from the Opposition following Sarkar's murder which forced the government to order a CBI investigation.
Considered a housewife without any administrative acumen to rule the state, Chief Minister Rabri Devi toured all the four constituencies even while her husband Laloo Yadav was in jail.
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