|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
NDA wins Nalanda, Bhagalpur bypolls
November 09, 2006 14:04 IST
Last Updated: November 09, 2006 17:08 IST
Bihar's ruling National Democratic Alliance on Thursday retained the Bhagalpur and Nalanda Lok Sabha seats, inflicting a convincing defeat on the divided United Progressive Alliance and its Left Front partners.
Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, the lone Muslim face in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, defeated Rashtriya Janata Dal's Shakuni Chaudhary by 55,611 votes in bypolls to the Bhagalpur seat where 13 aspirants were in the fray.
Hussain polled 2,21,001 votes, and Chaudhary, a former MP from Munger, secured 1,65,390 votes.
Communist Party of India - Marxist's Subodh Roy, a former MP from Bhagalpur who was backed by Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party, Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Communist Party of India, was relegated to the third position with 79,363 votes.
In the Nalanda constituency, vacated by Nitish Kumar on becoming Bihar's chief minister, Janata Dal-United nominee and Islampur MLA Ram Swaroop Prasad trounced RJD-backed independent and former MP Arun Kumar by a margin of over 1.17 lakh votes.
Eight candidates were in the fray in Nalanda. Prasad polled 1,71,592 votes, while Kumar, who recently quit the JD-U, got just 53,840 votes.
CPI's Gay Singh, supported by the LJP, Congress, NCP and CPI-M, finished a poor third with 31,915 votes.
Hussain is seeking to revive his political fortunes after his electoral loss to Union Minister of State for Agriculture Taslimuddin in Kishanganj in the 2004 general election.
The by-elections in Bhagalpur were necessitated by the resignation of Sushil Kumar Modi after becoming deputy chief minister.
Nitish Kumar had won the Nalanda seat by a margin of over 1.06 lakh in the last Lok Sabha poll.
Nalanda had earlier returned former JD-U president George Fernandes thrice in a row in 1996, 1998 and 1999.
The results vindicated Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's claim that the outcome of the by-polls was a foregone conclusion. Kumar had said the NDA nominees were set to win.
The NDA's victory also exposed the disunity among UPA constituents and their Left Front allies.
In Bhagalpur, where Hussain won by 55,611 votes, his chances of victory would have been affected if the UPA and the Left had put up a joint candidate, observers said.
With his nominee finishing second, RJD president Lalu Prasad proved the point that his party was better placed to take on the NDA than the CPI-M, which fielded Subodh Roy against his wishes.
The presence of independent candidate Pradeep Joshi, who was backed by the Bhartiya Janshakti party of Uma Bharti, the VHP and Shiv Sena in Bhagalpur could not prevent Hussain's victory.
That Joshi, the independent MLA from Dehri, polled just 6,424 votes proved that Bharti, whose candidates were defeated by the BJP in recent bypolls to the Vidisha Lok Sabha and Bada Malhar assembly seats in her home state of Madhya Pradesh, had few takers in Bihar.
However, in Nalanda, the home turf of Chief Minister Kumar, a joint candidate of the UPA-Left combine would not have made any difference to the outcome, considering the huge margin of victory of the JD-U candidate.
Kumar, who was away in Darbhanga to hold his 'janata durbar' (public meeting), reacted to the NDA victory by describing it as the 'triumph of the people'.
"The victory also indicates that the NDA has the support of all sections of society, including Muslims. My government's endeavour for the welfare of minorities has been received well by Muslims and the by-election results reflect this," he said.