Surmounting anti-incumbency of 15 years, a mutinous former ally, and a spirited challenge from a resurgent opposition that rose from its ashes like proverbial phoenix after the 2019 Lok Sabha poll debacle, the Nitish Kumar-led NDA was back in power in Bihar on Wednesday (November 11) with a slender majority.
The ruling coalition won 125 seats in the 243-memberstate assembly against 110 clinched by the opposition Grand Alliance to pave the way for a fourth successive term for Kumar in office but with diminished clout following a debilitating slide in the number of JD(U) lawmakers that came down to 43 from 71 in 2015.
Kumar was then a partner in the Grand Alliance which included Lalu Prasad’s RJD and the Congress.
Its defeat notwithstanding, the RJD, helmed by Tejashwi Yadav, the younger son and heir to party supremo Lalu Prasad helmed, emerged as the single largest party with75 seats. The BJP, which led the table for several hours during the counting that dragged on for over 16 hours, finished second with a tally of 74 seats.
Despite the slump in numbers, Kumar, who was declared the NDA’s chief ministerial candidate by the BJP brass, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief J P Nadda, is set to take over the reins of the government.
Much of Kumar’s plight can be blamed on the damage Chirag Paswan’s LJP inflicted on his JD(U). Down in the dumps with just one MLA, the party spoiled the JD(U)s chances in at least 30 seats.
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