Lalu survives, Nitish succumbs to Modi fury

Even though BJP failed to save the lone Muslim face, Shahnawaz Hussain from Bhagalpur Lok Sabha seat, the mandate of 2014 Lok Sabha elections is unprecedented in the history of BJP across the country. The final results of all the 40 seats in Bihar are a thumping mandate for BJP, while it’s a face saver for Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). BJP emerged as the largest party in state bagging 23 seats, while RJD-Congress alliance managed to win just seven seats in total. 

The message of poll results is loud and clear, enough to fathom there was a Modi undercurrent that pushed BJP ahead of all in his rival Nitish Kumar-led Bihar. Till now, BJP in Bihar, JD(U)’s former ally during 2009 general elections and 2010 state assembly elections, was treated as a ‘liability’ by the former.

By getting just same number of seats as in the last Lok Sabha polls, to some extent Lalu Prasad proved his obituary writers wrong. He may have some reasons to smile as the RJD-Congress alliance has done quite well by eating into the vote share of its old friend-turned-foe Nitish Kumar. The results are very embarrassing for Nitish as JD(U)’s heavyweights have been defeated badly. The ruling party has managed to win only two seats - Nalanda and Purnia. The Bihar CM who was riding high on his development model has failed to save party’s national president Sharad Yadav’s Madhepura seat. Sharad Yadav lost to Pappu Yadav of RJD by 56,209 votes. 

Reacting to the landslide victory of BJP in the state, Patna-based known academician Pradeep Kumar Mishra said, ‘This was a historic election. The epicenter of the polls was none other than Modi's agenda of development.’ Explaining about the voting pattern, Mishra, who is secretary of Lord Buddha Education Foundation, added, ‘Almost 80 per cent of the  upper caste votes, which is considered as the original vote bank, went in BJP’s favour. Apart from this, electorates of backward classes also voted for Modi for the change of guard at the centre.’

Political pundits had predicted that Lalu Prasad’s party would disappear after he was jailed for five years by a CBI court on 30 September 2013 in fodder scam case. Soon after getting released from Ranchi jail in December, the old warhorse of Bihar politics, had said, ‘I will go around the country to strengthen the secular forces and will not allow to realize the dreams of Narendra Modi or BJP or RSS.’

While dubbing BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as chela (disciple) of party’s patriarch, the former Bihar chief minister had also said that he will stop Modi from becoming prime minister of the country. 

Unfortunately, his words proved to be full of hot air as Modi-led BJP has achieved unprecedented mandate after counting of votes completed on Friday and Narendra Modi is all set to take oath as country’s next prime minister.

Why Nitish Kumar, who severed ties with BJP in June 2013 over the issue of Narendra Modi, didn't get the support of his ‘trusted’ vote bank is a subject of long debate? Spelling out the reasons of JD (U)’s debacle, Rameshwar Prasad, a former syndicate member of Magadh University, said, ‘Not only Muslims, even Mahadalits and extremely weaker sections (EWS) too didn’t come in support of Nitish Kumar.’ 

‘The day Nitish severed ties with the BJP in June 2013, he certainly wouldn't have calculated that he would be facing apathy by the community he ‘sacrificed’ his coalition for,’ Prasad further said. 
Hailing the RJD-Congress alliance for the improved tally in Bihar, Mritunjay Prasad Singh said, ‘This time, the minority community has tactfully selected their nominees to defeat BJP candidates. During the last Lok Sabha polls, their votes were divided among Congress, RJD as well as JD(U). But in this election, major share of minority votes went in favour of Lalu-led party.’

As per 2013 caste census, the Yadavs have a population of 15 per cent, whereas the Muslims constitute 16.5 per cent of total population. Till the first phase of polling that took place on 10 April, the Muslim votes apparently got divided between the two leaders. But from second phase onwards the minority community is said to have preferred Lalu Prasad-led UPA in Bihar.

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