Patna: Around 9.5 lakh voters in Bihar chose not to vote for any candidate in the assembly elections and pressed the “None of the Above” (NOTA) button on the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
According to statistics released by the Election Commission on Sunday night, a total of 9,47,276 voters chose NOTA — 2.5 percent of the total votes polled.
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 and its allies with just 58 seats.
Congress also made impressive gains winning 27 seats out of 41. It had won only 4 last time.
Former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM won only one of the two seats he contested and lost in all the 19 others it fought in.
But amid all the euphoria and boost the result gave to its national campaign against the BJP and Modi, the Congress has a worry. The Bihar results showed that a viable and credible anti-BJP front could take shape and that the Congress may not be the fulcrum of it. That would end the Congress position as even the main opposition party.
‘This mandate is against Modi’
The mandate in Bihar is against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will impact national politics, RJD leader Lalu Prasad said on Monday.
“The mandate we have got is to fight Delhi, Modi,” the Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and the former chief minister told the media, a day after the Grand Alliance routed the BJP combine in assembly polls.
“Communal and fascist forces are ruling Delhi. To keep them in power even for one more day will amount to breaking up the country,” he said.
“This is my view, others may agree or not,” he added.
The RJD leader reiterated that the sweeping victory of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), the RJD and Congress over the four-party combine of the BJP would impact national politics.
Lalu Prasad blamed the Modi government for rising prices of food and even train and air travel.
“Traders and businessmen are terrorized today. Nobody is feeling safe. Everyone is terrorized.”
He said the reason why the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the 2014 Lok Sabha election was because its leaders “fooled everyone” with false promises.
“They talked about ‘achche din, achche din’ but such bad days have come.”
He also criticized political pundits and analysts who called him “chara chor (fodder thief)” and “criminal” in television debates, saying his win would mark a return of “jungle raj” in Bihar.
“We have taken this in bad taste,” he said. “I want to tell all these people to try to understand Bihar better. Ultimately, people are the best judge.”
Lalu Prasad again thanked the people of Bihar for giving the Grand Alliance a landslide win and said the coalition government in the state “will work fine under Nitish Kumar’s leadership”.
“We will use Bihar’s resources properly, we will also fight against Delhi for our rights.”