Chirag Paswan, widely billed as the x-factor in the Bihar election, failed to live up to his claims and managed just one of the state's 243 seats but he calls it a win saying he "achieved" what he set out to do.
The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) said today that he wanted the BJP to emerge stronger from the election and was happy with his party's impact.
"Like all parties, I too would like to win as many seats as possible, but my aim for these elections was to ensure that the BJP emerges a strong party in the state and we are happy with the impact we have had," Chirag Paswan told reporters this morning.
When he launched his solo campaign for Bihar, the 37-year-old actor-turned-politician had said that his only agenda in contesting separately from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was to defeat Nitish Kumar so his own party could form a government with the BJP.
The LJP put up candidates against Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United (JDU) and is assessed to have cut into its votes across the board.
Even the BJP's Sushil Kumar Modi, Deputy Chief Minister to Nitish Kumar, admitted that JDU possibly lost 20 seats because of the Paswan factor. All in all, Chirag Paswan may have cost the NDA nearly 40 seats.
Nitish Kumar's party ended up with 43 seats, a huge drop from 71 in 2015. But the BJP upped its tally from 53 to 74 to emerge as the senior partner, which added more heft to speculation that it allowed Chirag Paswan to function as a disruptor for Nitish Kumar.
Accordingly, Mr Paswan today shifted his goalpost.
Asked about his party's flop turn, he said: "What is the definition of defeat? The party has increased its vote share."
The JDU is smarting from the blow and one of its senior leaders hinted that the party is upset with ally BJP. "Chirag Paswan should have been denounced and controlled from the start," said JDU spokesperson KC Tyagi on Tuesday in one of his early interviews in which he had conceded defeat prematurely based on grim results for his party.
Mr Paswan had said last month that he had discussions with the BJP leadership, specifically Amit Shah and JP Nadda, before announcing that he would field candidates against Nitish Kumar's party. "It's not that I sat across the table from Amit Shah and was breaking the news to him. I met him once and told him it won't be possible for him to incorporate me in seat sharing, but would it be possible for him to include my agenda of Bihar First, Bihari First, in NDA agenda. I said if not, allow me to put up my candidates against JDU. He didn't say anything on it... He was quiet, was listening to it," Mr Paswan told NDTV.