RJD wins Bihar's Araria bypoll, bags Jehanabad Assembly seat too

There is another political force here - Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular (HAM-S) of Jitan Ram Manjhi, the former Bihar chief minister. There were 14 candidates in the Jehanabad assembly bye-election in the electoral fray. The results in both the states triggered calls for a Grand Alliance - a la Bihar - all across India to take on the BJP in the next Lok Sabha polls.

The bypolls will also test the leadership skills of RJD's Tejashwi Yadav, 28, who has led the opposition campaign as his father and party chief Lalu Prasad is in jail in a corruption case. Yadav's father Mundrika Singh Yadav had won the seat for RJD in the 2015 Assembly polls.

In Araria, a seat that fell vacant due to the death of RJD strongman Mohd Taslimuddin, the RJD has fielded his son Sarfaraz Alam, eyeing a chunk of the Muslim-Yadav voters who make up more than half the electorate. While the RJD retained the Jehanabad assembly seat, the BJP was able to hold on to the Bhabua assembly seat.

RJD candidate Sarfaraz Alam defeated the BJP nominee Pradeep Kumar Singh by 61,788 votes.

The bypolls were held on March 11.

Byelections in Uttar Pradesh, necessitated after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated their seats in Gorakhpur and Phulpur constituency, respectively, on taking office, are being seen as a prestige battle for the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).

Reacting angrily to the result in Bhabhua, Congress MLA Munna Tiwari charged legislature party leader Sadanand Singh with "choosing a candidate of his personal choice, sacrificing the interests of the party". Millions of salutations to the people of Bihar for upholding justice.

In 2014, BJP and its ally Apna Dal had won 73 of 80 Lok Sabha seats and 325 out of 403 seats in the 2017 Assembly elections.

"Why else would the Congress, backed by the RJD, lose in Bhabhua", he asked. "His party spent the wealth they have gathered through unfair means", said JD (U) legislator and spokesperson Neeraj Kumar.

In a matter of hours, Tejashwi became the leader of the opposition from the deputy chief minister.

  • Rogelio Becker