Patna: The RJD today wrested the Jokihat assembly seat in Bihar from the JD(U) in the bypoll by a margin of 41,000 votes.
RJD candidate Shahnawaz Alam defeated Murshid Alam of the JD(U), Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Baiju Nath Kumar said. Following the win, a buoyed Tejashwi Yadav attacked Chief Minister Nitish Kumar saying if he has conscience he should immediately tender his resignation.
The Jokihat seat in Muslims-dominated Araria district was held by the JD(U) during the 2015 state elections. The bypoll was necessitated due to the resignation of sitting MLA Sarfaraz Alam, the elder brother of the RJD candidate, in March. Sarfaraz Alam went on to win the bypoll to the Araria Lok Sabha seat on an RJD ticket.
Their father Taslimuddin, whose death had necessitated the Araria bypoll, had represented Jokihat for a record five times. The bypoll defeat has come as a jolt to Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), which had registered three consecutive wins at Jokihat before today’s loss. Kumar, who returned to Patna from a JD(U) function at Rajasthan today, is yet to make any comment on the bypoll result. However, JD(U) General Secretary K C Tyagi saw the Jokihat defeat as an outcome of people’s nationwide reaction over recent fuel prices hike.
The defeated JD(U) candidate Alam said the recent tie-up of the JD (U) with the BJP may also have angered many of the party’s traditional voters. He also accused the RJD of “indulging in large-scale mischievous campaign on communal lines against the BJP-led NDA”.
Meanwhile, leader of the opposition in Bihar assembly Tejashwi Yadav claimed that Kumar has been “reduced to the status of a captain who cannot even find a place in the playing eleven”.
“If the chief minister has conscience, he should immediately go to the Raj Bhavan and tender his resignation,” the former deputy chief minister told a press conference convened immediately after counting of votes ended.
Yadav also claimed that the chief minister “has realised that his days are over… A reason why he is busy fielding candidates in far-off states like Karnataka and Gujarat and holding rallies in Rajasthan instead of concentrating on Bihar which has been his party’s bastion.”
He further claimed that the JD(U) national president’s “body language shows that he is ready for yet another political somersault as he has been unable to secure any benefits for Bihar after his alliance with the BJP. His sudden reiteration of the demand for special status is an example.”
“Nitish Kumar would, however, now find no takers as he has lost the trust of all. I thank the people of Bihar for giving a befitting reply to both the chief minister and the BJP for conspiring together to hijack the mandate for 2015 assembly polls and achieve power by forming an unethical alliance,” Yadav said.
The RJD heir apparent said the victory was also “a befitting reply to the political detractors of my father Lalu Prasad who has been framed in one case after another”.
“Lalu Prasad stands not only for an ideology but represents a scientific approach to politics, something Nitish Kumar could never appreciate. Lalu had envisaged a united opposition to take on the BJP which is taking shape across the country and if the results of by-polls held in various parts of the country are any indication, countdown for the BJP-led NDA at the Centre has begun,” asserted Yadav, who had attended the swearing-in ceremony of H D Kumarswami at Bengaluru recently.