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NDA sweeps Bihar, 15-yr Laloo raj over

Press Trust of India

Posted: Nov 22, 2005 at 0827 hrs IST

Riding the crest of a wave for a change in Bihar, JD(U)-BJP combine today won an absolute majority wresting power from Laloo Prasad Yadav's RJD which had an uninterrupted reign for 15 years. In the elections, second in eight months, forced by a premature dissolution of the 243-member Assembly, the Nitish Kumar led-NDA bagged 140 seats, 18 more than the half way mark of 122.

Kumar's JD-U won 86 seats and BJP 54 seats against 55 and 37 won in the March elections which had thrown up a hung verdict, President's Rule and the consequence dissolution.

NDA'S Chief Ministerial candidate the 54-year-old Kumar, an electrical engineer who led coalition to a convincing victory, said good governance will be his top most priority and would be fair to all religious communities and castes, including the extremely backward classes and deprived sections.

He is expected to be elected leader of the JD(U)-BJP legislature party and likely to be sworn in on Thursday at the Gandhi Maidan here. The RJD, which had a vice-like grip on power ever since 1990, finally lost in the battle of ballots securing 53 seats and its alliance partner Congress getting nine seats, one less than last time.

RJD had had won 75 in the last elections. Another alliance partner CPI-M managed to get a lone seat.

RJD supremo and Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav accepted the defeat and congratulated Nitish Kumar at a personal level. He offered cooperation to the ew government in the interest of people of Bihar.

In the March elections RJD was the single largest party in the House which was dissolved in May when the LJP suffered a split and the rebel group joining the JD(U)-BJP combine in its efforts to form the government. The election, which was contested by the NDA on issues like development and "worsening" law and order situation, saw the LJP, who had emerged as the kingmaker in the last elections, performing badly this time winning 10 seats against 29 in March.

Its alliance partner CPI retained the three seats it had won earlier. Soon a virtual blame game started in the UPA with Congress and CPI -M leaders saying division in secular votes because of Paswan's LJP fighting the elections separately.

A suggestion was also made for discussing Paswan's continuance in the Union Ministry but was strongly rejected by CPI and other Left parties which had aligned with the LJP in the polls. Paswan, however, maintained that had his suggestion for making a Muslim a Chief Minister and the RJD-Congress combine supported it the results would have been different. Like the other UPA leaders, he said the Bihar results would have been different.

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