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Nitish ‘tsunami’ in Bihar, wipes out Lalu, Congress; to take oath on Friday
PATNA/NEW DELHI, NOV 24 (IANS):
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Published on 25 Nov. 2010 12:00 AM IST
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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Wednesday steered the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to a historic electoral triumph by bagging 84 percent of the seats and decimating the Lalu Prasad-led opposition while virtually erasing the Congress from one of India’s most populous states.
The new government in Bihar will take oath on Friday, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on Wednesday.
“The new government will take oath at the historic Gandhi Maidan for the second term on Friday,” said Kumar, whose JD (U)-BJP alliance retained power with a massive majority.
In a verdict that left even experts groping for words, Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance rode to victory on its development plank and was projected to win an incredible 204 of the 243 states.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)-Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) combine led by Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan, considered kingmakers until just a few years ago, was trailing at number two with 29 seats.
And the Congress, which rules the country and contested all 243 seats, was left lagging at a humiliating third with a dismal five seats, less than even the nine it mustered in the 2005 poll.
Emphatic, resounding, decisive… Many adjectives did the rounds as analysts and politicians attempted to grasp the extent of the poll victory that has propelled JD-U chief Nitish Kumar to a second term of governing the state of 83 million.
The trends were seen right from 8 a.m. when counting began of the 28 millions votes polled from Oct 21 to Nov 20. It was largely seen as a victory of development versus the regressive politics of caste that had for long dominated the state, considered one of the poorest and most backward.
Stating that development had won in Bihar, Nitish Kumar, whose past is rooted in the country’s now virtually defunct socialist movement, said people wanted to put the state on the path of progress and pointed out that this election had seen more women voters than men.
“Bat banane ka daur khatam ho gaya hai. (The time to talk has ended),” he said, adding that those who fought the election on the basis of caste had been defeated.
“Logon mein jagriti ayee hai, woh apni kahani likhega. Yeh chunao ne nayee khani likhi hai. (People have awakened, this will write its own story. This election has written a new story),” the toast of Bihar said.
Although both the JD-U and BJP, who have been aligned since 1996, made substantial gains over their 2005 strength, leaders of both credited the win largely to the charisma of Nitish Kumar.
As wild celebrations broke out in the JD-U and BJP headquarters in Delhi and Patna, BJP leaders stepped out one by one to hail the victory - Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Prakash Javadekar.
“It marks a new signal in Indian polity. It is a victory of meritorious leadership over dynastic politics,” he said, taking a swipe at the Congress, which fielded its president Sonia Gandhi and general secretary Rahul Gandhi for campaigning in the six-phase elections.
“We didn’t have much hope,” Sonia Gandhi admitted while talking to reporters outside her residence. “The results indicate that our party has to start from scratch and that is what we plan to do.”
Her colleague Home Minister P. Chidambaram added while congratulating Nitish Kumar for the “great show” that the “development argument has prevailed”.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad congratulated long-time rival but not the BJP as he “hates” it for its communal views.

 
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