Jokihat, Bihar: The RJD led by Tejaswi Yadav today wrested Jokihat in Bihar from Nitish Kumar's party, scoring another point in his prestige battle with the Chief Minister who dumped his party last year.
- In bypolls, RJD defeats JD(U) in Jokihat assembly seat
- Third success for the RJD under the leadership of Tejaswi Yadav
- Jokihat lawmaker quit JDU after Nitish Kumar joined hands with BJP
Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United (JDU) had gone all out in the constituency, where the party's lawmaker had quit and joined the RJD after Mr Kumar joined hands with the BJP last year. The party lost by over 40,000 votes to the RJD.
This is the third success for the RJD under the leadership of Tejaswi Yadav, the 28-year-old who took charge of the party after his father, former Chief Minister Lalu Yadav, was jailed for corruption. The party had earlier won Jehanabad and Araria.
"My chacha (uncle) Nitish Kumar used money and might but couldn't retain his seat. This is the victory of Laluvaad (Lalu's ideology) over avsarvaad (opportunism)," Tejaswi told reporters, adding that Mr Kumar lost despite using government machinery.
"Nitish Kumar was never able to understand Laluji, my father," said Yadav junior.
Nitish Kumar enlisted half his cabinet and all his political aides in this one assembly seat in east Bihar, 300 km from capital Patna. Many had seen Jokihat as a big test of the Chief Minister's popularity and his political capital.
Earlier this year, the JD(U) had lost the assembly bypolls to Jehanabad, another seat that has a considerable minority population, to the RJD. Sources say Mr Kumar wasn't too keen to field a candidate but was persuaded by the BJP.
Sarfaraz Alam, who was JDU's lawmaker in Jokihat, quit his party after Nitish Kumar swapped allies and resurrected his alliance with the BJP. He contested the recent election from the Araria Lok Sabha seat in March and won.
The RJD has fielded Sarfaraz Alam's younger brother, Shahnawaz Alam.
JDU candidate Murshid Alam has seven criminal cases registered against him including one of gang-rape. In another case, the police had allegedly recovered idols stolen from temples from his house.
Tejaswi Yadav also thanked parties like the Samajwadi Party, Congress and Mayawati's BSP, referencing much talked about opposition unity to "save democracy".
On a day the BJP lost two of its sitting Lok Sabha seats --- Kairana in Uttar Pradesh and Bhandara-Gondiya in Maharashtra --- the JD(U) blamed the constant rise in fuel prices as a reason.
"There is outrage across the country due to increase in price of petrol and diesel. Constant rise in the price of fuel is also a reason for such poll results. Therefore, the hike should be immediately rolled back," said senior JD(U) leader KC Tyagi.