Patna: In a major setback for Janata Dal – U leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, all of his candidates in three separate state Assembly polls lost their bid while also losing their security deposit as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wrestled Assam from Congress sending a strong signal across the nation that the report of the demise of the saffron party was greatly exaggerated.
"JD-U candidates in West Bengal, Kerala, and Assam were handed over a crushing defeat along with parties for whom Nitish Kumar had vigorously campaigned. Kumar's dream of becoming the Prime Minister came crashing down with the rejection of his leadership in all five states where elections were recently held," senior party leader and former Bihar minister Nand Kishore Yadav said.
BJP state President Mangal Pandey, while expressing his happiness over the party's win in Assam, said that Kumar had thought that riding on the coat-tail of Congress, he would be able to occupy the PM's chair in Delhi but the people of all five states rejected his leadership by punishing his candidates while also punishing the Congress that could pull a win in only one state (Puducherry).
Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his leadership, Pandey said that the day was not far off when the whole country would become 'Congress-free' – a play on the phrase earlier used by Nitish Kumar when he called for a 'Sangh-free' India.
"Just as Nitish Kumar was wiped off from West Bengal, Assam, and Kerala, his party would not win one seat in Uttar Pradesh where he thinks the JD-U would fare much better due to the state's proximity to Bihar," he said.
JD-U had fielded seven candidates in Kerala including two incumbents who all ended up losing their bid. In Assam, Kumar's party was contesting at four seats in alliance with the AIUDF but all of his candidates ended up losing their security deposit in all four constituencies. Two candidates in West Bengal also lost big losing their security deposit.
As anticipated, both Jayalalitha and Mamata Banerjee won easily in their respective states of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
At a press conference in Patna, the Chief Minister downplayed the party's loss saying the results were far from surprising and were in fact, as expected by him.
"This is not surprising at all. We lost because Congress decided to go alone in Assam despite my fervent plea to forge a Bihar-like Mahagathbandhan in the state. The result was clear well before the elections," the Chief Minister said.