The ruling Janata Dal (United) in Bihar retained both Assembly seats in the State on Tuesday by defeating Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) candidates. In Kusheshwarsthan, JD(U) won comfortably while in Tarapur it was a close contest. Bypolls to both seats were held on October 30.
In Kusheshwarsthan (Darbhanga), Aman Bhushan Hazari (JD(U)) defeated Ganesh Bharti (RJD) by over 12,000 votes. In Tarapur (Munger) Rajeev Kumar Singh (JD(U)) won the seat against Arun Kumar Shah (RJD) by a thin margin of 3,821 votes. Mr. Hazari is son of Maheshwar Hazari, whose death resulted in the Kusheshwarsthan bypoll, while in Tarapur it was due to the death of Mewalal Choudhary.
Soon after the results were announced, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, who was camping at Darbhanga to monitor the result of Kusheshwarsthan, said: “We fought hard at Kusheshwarsthan, where our party had never contested, but the JD(U) candidate got sympathy votes as well. We respect people’s mandate as we believe in democracy but people of Bihar need change and change will come.”
The Congress has been contesting from Kusheshwarsthan as part of the mahagathbandhan. In the 2020 Assembly polls, Ashok Kumar (Congress) was defeated by Maheshwar Hazari by over 7,000 votes.
This time too the Congress wanted to stake claim to this seat but RJD chose to put up its own candidate, which widened the rift between the parties and they fielded their own candidates.
However, Congress candidates Rajesh Kumar Mishra and Atirek Kumar at Tarapur and Kusheshwarsthan managed to get only a few thousands votes. “We admit that people at both places did not take any notice of Congress but we’ll mull and strengthen our position gradually,” senior State Congress leader Prem Chandra Mishra said.
The bypolls had become a prestige issue for JD(U) and RJD. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and a host of JD(U) and BJP leaders campaigned hard in both constituencies. RJD chief Lalu Prasad too jumped into the ring and addressed two well-attended public meetings.
“Though, the Congress candidates couldn’t do much at both places, the ruling party campaign managed to create confusion among voters by talking of the rift between RJD and Congress,” said political analyst Ajay Kumar.