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The Janata Dal-United-Bharatiya Janata Party combine on Wednesday scored for a landslide victory in the assembly elections in Bihar to come back to power for a second term.
The electorate in one of India's most backward states wholeheartedly endorsed Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's agenda of development. And also showed that development beat caste considerations among the electorate.
Nitish Kumar will be sworn in as the chief minister for the second term on November 26.
The BJP emerged as the biggest winner of the day, winning 91 seats of the 102 it contested. The BJP's performance was even better than that of the Janata Dal-United.
The party's tally has improved significantly. In the 2005 state assembly polls, the BJP had won only 55 seats.
The BJP top brass hailed the 'good governance' by Nitish Kumar and his Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi for the victory.
The prince charming of the Congress had vowed to resurrect the party's dwindling fortunes in Bihar. Rahul Gandhi had refused to team up with any other party and decided that the Congress will fight the state polls alone. He campaigned extensively in the state, visiting it several times and tearing apart the ruling JD-U-BJP combine at every opportunity.
Neither Rahul's so-called charisma nor his tall claims of central assistance for Bihar worked. The Congress strategy flopped, to put it mildly, as the party won only four of the 243 assembly seats in the state.
He is the man responsible for the 15-year-long jungle raaj in Bihar, when the state witnessed the heights of anarchy and lawlessness.
Highlighting his favourite issue of caste politics during campaigning, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad claimed that Nitish's claims of development were false.
He also made absurd promises during the campaign -- to counter the state government's policy of providing cycles to school students to discourage them from dropping out, Lalu promised to give free motorcycles to college students.
But the long-suffering people of Bihar gave Lalu's populist policies a fitting reply by ensuring that his party faced a humiliating defeat in the state elections.
Taking a cue from her husband about attacking opponents, the former chief minister of Bihar called Nitish Kumar 'a dishonest thief' during campaigning.
Rabri Devi also claimed that the state government had usurped the funds meant for Bihar's development, and Nitish was 'fooling' the people by taking credit for the development initiated earlier by the RJD government.
The people of Bihar brought the 'dishonest thief' back to power for a second term and the leader of opposition in the state assembly lost both the seats she contested.
After facing an ignoble defeat in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls -- when his party Lok Janshakti Party failed to win a single seat -- the Bihar assembly results brought more bad news for party chief Ramvilas Paswan.
Teaming up with his former foe Lalu Prasad proved to be a wrong tactical move for Paswan. The RJD-LJP combine bit the dust, barely clinging on to one-eighth of the total number of seats contested.
As the brother-in-law of Lalu, Sadhu Yadav enjoyed immense political clout during Lalu's 15-year misrule.
But his fortunes have been on the decline since allegations of corruption surfaced against him. Sulking after being denied a ticket for the polls, he joined the Congress and contested the 2005 Lok Sabha polls, losing his deposit in the process.
Sadhu Yadav continued his losing streak in the assembly polls where he contested from the Gopalganj constituency, and lost.