Patna: In a verdict that is bound to have national impact, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and and RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav on Sunday, 8th
November 2015 trounced the BJP to win the bitterly fought Bihar assembly election
and deliver a major blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who led his party's
In contrast to what most exit polls had
said, the Grand Alliance of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), the Rashtriya Janata
Dal (RJD) and the Congress won a whopping 178 of the 243 seats, leaving the BJP
-- which wanted to oust Nitish Kumar -- and its allies with just 58 seats.
The RJD and JD-U ended up winning 80
and 71 seats each and the Congress 27. The BJP was the winner in 53
constituencies, and three allies -- the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), the
Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) -- could
together bag only five seats (2, 1, 2 respectively).
The Communist Party of
India-Marxist-Leninist-Liberation had won three seats and Independents four.
The much-maligned Lalu Prasad's RJD
ended up as the single biggest party.
"This is a very big victory. We
accept it with humility," Nitish Kumar said in his first comments.
"From the national perspective, the result is significant."
Lalu Prasad, who the BJP targeted more
viciously during the election campaign, was more emphatic. He called Modi
"a RSS pracharak" and vowed to mount a nationwide campaign against
the BJP-led central government.
Lalu Prasad also made it clear that
although his party had more seats than the JD-U, Nitish Kumar would be the
A sombre Modi telephoned Nitish Kumar
and congratulated him. So did a stream of opposition leaders from across the
country, indicating that the ramifications of the Bihar outcome was already
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata
Banerjee said the BJP's defeat was a "victory of tolerance, defeat of
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader
Arvind Kejriwal hailed Nitish Kumar on "this historic victory".
Kejriwal also said the BJP-led coalition's defeat was a referendum on Modi's
"work and working style". He added: "The results prove that
people do not approve of the politics of hatred."
The CPI-M said the state's people have
ushered in their own 'acche din'. "The main message of the Bihar verdict
is people are not going to tolerate any attack on the country's social fabric
and secular tradition," party general secretary Sitaram Yechuri told media
persons in Kolkata.
The Shiv Sena, the BJP's junior but
bitter ally in Maharashtra, said the BJP must accept that the defeat was Modi's
doing. Calling Nitish Kumar "a political hero", it said the Bihar
result "will be a turning point in the country's political future".
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister
Omar Abdullah too said that the verdict "will prove critical for the
nation in the days ahead".
Even as former BJP deputy chief
minister Sushil Kumar Modi said his party would be "a constructive
opposition", Bollywood veteran and BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha -- unhappy over
being sidelined by party president Amit Shah -- called the BJP defeat "a
victory for democracy and the people of Bihar... The writing was always on the
The BJP conceded defeat. "This is
not an outcome we expected," its general secretary Ram Madhav said.
"This defeat calls for serious thinking."
Union minister Prakash Javadekar blamed
the defeat on BJP's "alliance arithmetic". Its vice president Prabhat
Jha said: "We failed to understand people's mind. We will have to change
our election strategy."
Compared to the number of assembly
segments it led in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the BJP lost every second seat.
JD-U's Pavan Verma targeted Modi.
"It is a defeat for Modi and (BJP president) Amit Shah." MIM chief
Asaduddin Owaisi, whose MIM contested six seats and lost all, also said:
"It is a personal defeat for Modi as never before has a prime minister
campaigned so much in a (state) election."