Monday, May 18, 2009

Manoj Chaurasia : What worked for NDA ?

;Manoj ChaurasiaPATNA, 17 MAY: What worked for the NDA in Bihar that did not in the rest of the country? Supporters of chief minister Mr Nitish Kumar (see photograph) may feel otherwise, but an analysis of the poll results show that it’s neither his much-trumpeted “development agenda” nor his “social engineering” formula which earned the NDA its success in the state. Rather, it was the Congress which changed the entire game in favour of the NDA, causing a sharp split in the "secular" votes and handing over victory to the NDA candidates on a platter.The Congress went to the polls a wounded lioness after it was shabbily treated by its once-trusted allies, the RJD and LJP over the seat-sharing issue, and hurt them both badly at the hustings, so much so that both Mr Lalu Prasad and Mr Ram Vilas Paswan had to face ignominious defeats in the constituencies where they had considered themselves to be safe.There were at least 19 places where the Congress finished third while at two places it was the strongest challenger to the ruling JD-U. And, although it could win only two seats, it played spoilsport for the RJD-LJP combine by fielding candidates in all the 40 seats. The entry of the BSP and Left as independent players further minimized the victory chances of the RJD-LJP candidates. While the BSP fielded candidates in 40 LS seats of Bihar, the Left contested 33 seats. The multi-cornered contest resulting in a sharp division in secular votes ensured easy win for the NDA. This is gauged from the fact that on the most of the seats where the NDA candidates emerged victorious, their victory margin was much thinner ~ as low as 9,000 votes, which is normally seen in Assembly elections.For example, in Madhubani, the BJP candidate Mr Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav won by a slender margin of a little over 9,000 votes as the Congress cut into the votes of the RJD candidate. Similarly, in West Champaran, the BJP candidate Dr Sanjay Jaiswal managed to win in the bitter fight with film maker Mr Prakash Jha (LJP) and Congress candidate Mr Sadhu Yadav. The BJP candidate won by a margin of a little over 47,000 votes as the Congress candidate polled 70,000 votes. A similar role was played by the BSP and the Left parties. The BSP was virtually in a straight fight with the NDA at two places while at five places, it finished third. In Ujiarpur, the JD-U candidate managed to win by a margin of 25,000 votes as the CPI-M candidate polled 58,000 votes while in Begusarai, the JD-U candidate managed to win by only 40,000 votes as the CPI candidate who was his strongest challenger polled more than 1,68,000 votes. The Congress decided to go it alone in the elections after the Lalu-Paswan duo made an unilateral announcement of their seat-sharing deal, leaving only three seats for the Congress it had won in 2004 elections. The Left which parted ways with the UPA over the civil nuclear deal too went it alone in the polls and damaged the game plan of the two parties. Likewise, the BSP too fielded party candidates in all the seats in Bihar to teach a lesson to the party chief Miss Mayawati's rival, Dalit leader Mr Ram Vilas Paswan. Of late Miss Mayawati had emerged as a potential threat to Mr Paswan after she continued taking interest in national politics and also staked claim as a Dalit Prime Minister. Mr Paswan too staked this claim and said he was the “real” leader of the Dalit. The attrition among the UPA partners ultimately cost them dearly, as they all lost.

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