As the results for the Bihar Assembly elections pour in, the Lok Janshakti Party is yet to secure even one seat in the polls, according to polling trends released by the Election Commission of India at 8.48 pm. The LJP is not leading in any of the constituencies now.
The party, led by Chirag Paswan, has a vote share of 5.64%, or 21,37,801, in the polls. The party had a strong start as the counting began, leading in three seats, but gradually lost the gains it had made. The LJP, however, appeared to be succeeding in damaging Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United), PTI reported. The party has played a major role in JD(U)’s loss in at least 30 seats, according to the news agency.
JD(U) spokesperson KC Tyagi said that a “sinister” campaign was run against Kumar, calling it a part of a “conspiracy”. “Ours own also harmed us along with the outsiders,” Tyagi said, without taking any names.
None of the exits polls for the Assembly election had given the Paswan-led party any significant numbers. While the Times Now-C Voter said the LJP would win one seat, Republic TV-Jan Ki Baat gave it five to eight seats. Paswan was favourite among only 7% of the respondents, according to India Today’s exit poll.
According to an early NDTV analysis, JD(U) would have been leading in 84 seats, instead of 48 at around 1 pm, if the LJP did not divide the votes. Paswan had split from the ruling alliance in October, citing “ideological differences” with the JD(U), and contested from 137 seats, including all 115 where Kumar’s outfit had fielded candidates. Paswan had, however, announced that his party would field candidates against the JD(U), but not against the BJP. A Patna-based LJP leader had said that the party may get 6% to 12% votes that could tip the scales for the JD(U).
A day after quitting the alliance on October 4, Paswan had penned an open letter asking people “not to waste even a single vote” on a JD(U) candidate.
“Every vote going to the JD(U) candidate will compel your children to migrate from the state,” Paswan wrote. “It is a do-or-die battle for 12 crore Bihar people, and we have nothing to lose. I know the way forward for the LJP is not going to be easy, but then it has not been easy for the people of Bihar for the last three decades either.” Paswan had also denied claims that the decision was to fulfill his own political ambitions and added that he never had any faith in Nitish Kumar’s leadership.
The Janata Dal (United) had criticised the LJP’s move as “overambitious, misplaced” and “a suicidal act”.
The third phase of voting for the 243-member Bihar Assembly concluded at 6 pm on November 7, recording a voter turnout of 55.22%. Voting was held in 78 constituencies in the state where as many as 2.34 crore people are exercising their franchise to elect from 1,204 candidates, who are in the fray in this phase. The elections in the state began on October 28 with nearly 55% turnout across 71 seats, while 94 seats in the second phase recorded over 53% turnout on November 5. Counting of voters will take place on November 10.