Chirag Paswan Wasn’t The Big Loser Of Bihar Election; He Proved His Point And Cost Nitish Kumar More Than 30 Seats

Chirag Paswan Wasn’t The Big Loser Of Bihar Election; He Proved His Point And Cost Nitish Kumar More Than 30 SeatsPrime Minister Narendra Modi with LJP chief Chirag Paswan.
Snapshot
  • LJP’s votes in 32 assembly seats were more than the margin by which JDU candidates lost. Overall, LJP cost NDA 38 seats.

    The election wasn’t close. Chirag Paswan made it so.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) comprising of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Janata Dal United (JDU), Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) has emerged victorious in Bihar assembly after a roller coaster counting process yesterday (10 November) where fortunes of the parties continued to change in a dramatic fashion throughout the day.

NDA finally managed to win 125 seats while the Mahagathbandhan (MGB) consisting of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Indian National Congress (INC) and communist parties had to settle for 110 seats.

On the surface it appears that MGB gave a tough fight to NDA but on deeper analysis, one comes to the conclusion that the latter could’ve won really comfortably had it taken the Chirag Paswan led Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP) on board. Paswan had a falling out with Nitish Kumar’s JDU over the issue of ticket sharing just before the election.

LJP had contested 42 assembly seats in 2015 and won only two. However, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it managed to win six seats. Hence, it demanded that it should be given over 35 seats to contest - a demand reasonable given its performance in the general election but highly unreasonable given its show in previous assembly election. JDU wasn’t willing to concede more than 15 seats to Paswan’s party and the latter decided to go on its own.

It fielded more than 130 candidates and could manage to win only one seat. But this statistic doesn’t tell the full story. Data from the election commission website shows that LJP made its presence felt in scores of constituencies. Chirag Paswan’s main fight was with Nitish Kumar and he fielded strong candidates against JDU while showing open display of affection and respect to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In LJP’s stronghold of Jamui, it didn’t even field a candidate. In fact, Chirag Paswan publicly asked the LJP cadre to help the BJP candidate win. That was the case throughout the state. And it seems to have paid off.

While the BJP improved its seat tally by 21 compared to last election, JDU’s seat count fell by 28. And it seems that more than the anti-incumbency against Nitish Kumar which Paswan kept highlighting throughout the campaign, it was LJP’s ground game which proved disastrous for the JDU.

In as many as 32 seats, JDU’s margin of loss is smaller than the number of votes secured by LJP. This is a significant damage to Nitish Kumar’s party.

1. Alauli: JDU lost by 2,773 votes. LJP got 26,386 votes.

2. Atri: JDU lost by 7,391 votes. LJP got 25,537 votes.

3. Bajpatti: JDU lost by 2,704 votes. LJP got 6,183 votes.

4. Barharia: JDU lost by 3,559 votes. LJP got 5,065 votes.

5. Chakai: JDU came third but only by 6,170. LJP got 22,575 votes.

6. Chenari: JDU lost by 18,003 votes. LJP got 18,074 votes.

7. Darbhanga: JDU lost by 2,141 votes. LJP got 17605 votes.

8. Dhauraiya: JDU lost by 2,687 votes. LJP got 4,081 votes.

9. Dinara: JDU came third and difference with winner was 32,289. LJP came second with 51,313 seats.

10. Ekma: JDU lost by 13,927 votes. LJP got 29,992 votes.

11. Gaighat: JDU lost by 7,566 votes. LJP got 36,851 votes.

12. Islampur: JDU lost by 3,698 votes. LJP got 8,597 votes.

13. Jagdishpur: JDU came third. Lost by 32,270 votes. LJP came second with 44,525 votes.

14. Jamalpur: JDU lost by 4,432 votes. LJP got 14,643 votes.

15. Kargahar: JDU lost by 4,083 votes. LJP got 16,988 votes.

16. Khagaria: JDU lost by 3,000 votes. LJP got 20,719 votes.

17. Laukaha: JDU lost by 10,077 votes. LJP got 30,494 votes.

18. Maharajganj: JDU lost by 1,976 votes. LJP got 18,278 votes.

19. Mahnar: JDU lost by 7,947 votes. LJP got 31,315 votes.

20. Mahua: JDU lost by 13,687 votes. LJP got 25,146 votes.

21. Minapur: JDU lost by 15,512 votes. LJP got 43,496 votes.

22. Morwa: JDU lost by 10,671 votes. LJP got 23,884 votes.

23. Nathnagar: JDU lost by 7,756 votes. LJP got 14,715 votes.

24. Obra: JDU came third, lost top spot by 38,428 votes. LJP came second with 40,994 votes.

25. Raghunathpur: JDU came third, lost top spot by 41,595 votes. LJP came second with 49,792 votes.

26. Rajapakar: JDU lost by 1,796 votes. LJP got 24,689 votes.

27. Sahebpur Kamal: JDU lost by 14,225 votes. LJP got 22,871 votes.

28. Samastipur: JDU lost by 4,714 votes. LJP got 12,074 votes.

29. Sheikhpura: JDU lost by 6,116 votes. LJP got 14,552 votes.

30. Sherghati: JDU lost by 16,690 votes. LJP got 24,107 votes.

31. Singheshwar: JDU lost by 5,573 votes. LJP got 5,607 votes.

32. Surajgarha: JDU lost by 9,589 votes. LJP got 44,797 votes.

Apart from these 32 seats, LJP managed to win Maithani by just 333 votes, defeating the JDU candidate.

Out of these 32 seats, if Nitish Kumar was gracious enough to give 12 seats to LJP (which means JDU contesting only 103 seats) with BJP giving him say 5-8 seats and another 5 seats from the quota given to HAM and VIP, then not only JDU could’ve won 20 seats more (taking its tally to 63) but also increase the NDA seat count as well making it a comfortable win for the alliance.

LJP not only damaged the JDU but also other NDA partners VIP and HAM as well. VIP contested on 11 seats while HAM fielded candidates on seven.

In four seats, VIP candidates lost by a margin that was lower than the number of votes LJP got.

1. Sugauli: VIP lost by 3,447 votes. LJP got 14,188 votes.

2. Madhubani: VIP lost by 6,814 votes. LJP got 15,818 votes.

3. Baniapur: VIP lost by 27,789 votes. LJP got 33,082 votes.

4. Simri Bakhtiyarpur: VIP lost by 1,759 votes. LJP got 6,962 votes.

In Kasba, LJP came second and lost the seat by 17,278 votes. HAM came third with 23,716 votes.

As far as the BJP is concerned, LJP hurt it only in Bhagalpur where the former lost the seat by only 1,113 votes while the latter got 20,523 votes.

Had the LJP fought more aggressively against the BJP candidates too, even a loss of 4-5 seats would’ve ensured the defeat of NDA.

Overall, LJP showed its strength in 38 seats, so much so that it ended up hurting the NDA and benefiting RJD and INC. Without that, NDA would’ve easily scored more than 150 seats. The election wasn’t close. It was made so by the LJP.

It would be a mistake to call Chirag Paswan a loser as many political pundits are doing in the mainstream media. In fact, he was all the difference between an NDA sweep and a close fight. Paswan had got only two seats in last election and had nothing to lose from his gambit of going alone. If anyone, it’s Nitish Kumar who is a big loser of the election and Paswan made him into one, exacting his revenge.

Arihant is Senior Editor, Swarajya

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