Monday, 3 October, 2022
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‘Vote-cutter’ Paswan lives up to his name as LJP eats into JD(U) votes in nearly 40 seats

The LJP won one seat, according to EC figures at 11.10 pm. Besides JD(U), LJP ended up either hurting or reducing lead margins of other NDA allies like HAM & VIP.

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New Delhi: In the run-up to the Bihar assembly election, Chirag Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) had earned the title of “vote-cutter” from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

On Tuesday, the party lived up to that reputation as it ended up damaging the winning prospects of NDA coalition partner, Janata Dal (United), in around 40 assembly seats. The final results are, however, yet to be declared.

The LJP has won one seat, according to the Election Commission of India figures at 11.10 pm. Though it’s performance was all but lacklustre, it dealt one of the most brutal blows to the JD(U).

If the LJP had not decided to go solo in 137 seats in Bihar despite continuing as an NDA ally at the Centre, the JD(U) could have emerged as the second largest party in the Bihar elections. 

An analysis of the EC figures until 10.15 pm showed the LJP damaged JD(U)’s winning prospects in close to 40 seats, where it put up its candidate against the latter. The JD(U) had until then won in 27 seats and was leading in another 16 seats.  

This has further added fuel to the speculations that Paswan’s decision to go solo had the covert blessings of BJP

Paswan made no bones about the fact that he is not against the BJP, and that his opposition is only with the JD(U) and chief minister Nitish Kumar. 

After the BJP accused him of seeking votes in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Paswan had famously told reporters last month: “I don’t need to use PM Modi’s photos for campaigning. He lives in my heart, I am his Hanuman. If needed, I will tear open my chest and show it.”

Throughout the campaign, Paswan attacked Nitish and his style of governance, which he said is riddled with corruption. While doing this, he steered clear of launching any attack on the BJP. In several public rallies, he said his only aim was to oust Nitish.

Also read: 3 reasons why BJP disowning Chirag Paswan may not cut ice with Nitish Kumar

Seats where JD(U) could have led if LJP didn’t contest 

ThePrint analysed 137 of the total 243 seats where the LJP put up its candidates and found that in close to 40 seats, the party had damaged the winning chances of JD(U) candidates.

It would have also been smooth-sailing for the JD(U) in many seats if the LJP had not contested from them.

This included seats like Darbhanga Rural, Ekma, Gaighat, Islampur, Maharajganj, Mahishi, Sultanganj, Sahebpur Kamal, Rajapakar, Matihani, Morwa, Nathnagar, Parbatta, Laukaha, Mahnar, Mahua and Kadwa, among others.

For instance, in Darbhanga Rural, RJD candidate Lalit Kumar Yadav got 64,929 votes (41.26 per cent), while JD(U)’s Faraz Fatmi secured 62,788 votes (39.9 per cent) and LJP candidate Pradeep Kumar got 17,506 votes (11.9 per cent).

In Ekma constituency, RJD’s Srikant Yadav got 53,875 votes (35.05 per cent), while JD(U)’s Sita Devi managed to secure 39,948 votes (25.99 per cent) and LJP’s Kameshwar Singh got 29,992 votes (19.51 per cent). 

Similarly, in Gaighat, while the RJD candidate, Niranjan Roy, got 50,433 votes (32.48 per cent), JD(U) candidate Maheshwar P.D. Yadav got 44,658 votes (28.76 per cent) and LJP candidate Komal Singh got 32,242 votes (20.76 per cent). 

In Islampur, RJD candidate Rakesh Kumar Roushan got 68,088 votes (41.65 per cent), JD(U)’s Chandra Sen Prasad received 64,390 votes (39.39 per cent) and Naresh Prasad Singh of LJP got 8,597 votes (5.26 per cent). 

In Maharajganj, Vijay Shanker Dubey of Congress got 48,825 votes (30.07 per cent), Hem Narayan Sah of JD(U) got 46,849 votes (28.86 per cent) and LJP’s Deo Ranjan Singh secured 18,190 votes (11.26 per cent). 

Also read: Bollywood to Bihar — LJP’s Chirag Paswan has 1 month to emerge from his father’s shadow

LJP damaged NDA allies HAM, VIP too  

Besides the JD(U), LJP also ended up either hurting or reducing lead margins of other NDA allies like Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP).

For instance, in the Tikari seat, where Congress’ Sumant Kumar got 59,238 votes, HAM’s Anil Kumar got 60,942 votes, the LJP’s Kamlesh Sharma got 14,132 votes. 

There were a few seats such as Gaura Bauram where the LJP damaged RJD’s prospects of winning. 

According to ECI figures, while the RJD candidate Afzal Ali Khan got 52,258 votes, VIP’s Swarna Singh was leading with  59,538 votes at 10 pm. Rajeev Kumar Thakur, an LJP candidate, secured 9,123 votes.

‘Paswan damaged both his and LJP’s future’

JD(U) national spokesperson K.C. Tyagi told ThePrint while it is true the LJP chipped into JD(U) votes, in the process Paswan damaged not only his own, but his party’s political future too. 

“We could have won in over 80 seats. The LJP ate into JD(U)’s vote by putting up upper caste candidates against candidates from the backward caste that we had given tickets to. But look at the LJP. The party under Paswan could not win even from his own parliamentary constituency Jamui. Who will join hands with such a party?” Tyagi said. 

Asked if Paswan’s decision to go solo had BJP’s blessings, Tygai said: “It’s not true. The BJP, including party president J.P. Nadda, had categorically said they are not supporting LJP in any which way in Bihar.”

Paswan’s father, Ram Vilas Paswan, had passed away on 8 October. He was the Union consumer affairs minister in the Modi government. 

Also read: Chirag Paswan takes out full-page ads, NDA leaders see it as an attack on Nitish Kumar


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