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Nitish Kumar’s plans for JD-U expansion suffer serious setback

The fresh setbacks have come from Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh where the JD-U put up a disastrous performance

Manoj Chaurasia | Patna |

Bihar Chief Ninister Nitish Kumar’s game-plan for JD-U expansion has suffered serious setbacks with his party failing to open accounts in at least seven states which went to polls recently. A series of defeats have left the Janata Dal United (JD-U) with just no bargaining capacity as it “survives” on the mercy of its key ally, the BJP.

The fresh setbacks have come from Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh where the JD-U put up a disastrous performance.

Let aside opening accounts, the party candidates failed to even save their security deposits on majority of the seats, indicating the fast-falling acceptability graph of the party under CM Kumar, who took over as JD-U president in April 2016. Prior to him, Sharad Yadav had held that post.

As per reports, JDU had fielded 12 candidates in the Assembly elections in Rajasthan, the result of which was announced on 11 December.

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Strangely, all the candidates lost the elections and their condition can be underlined from the fact that the maximum number of votes polled by a JD-U candidate was 5,009. The other candidates polled votes like 912, 417, 281, 199 and 161.

Even worse was the condition of JD-U candidates in Chhattisgarh where all 12 candidates forfeited their security deposits. Of the total candidates, only two could reach the votemark of 2,000 while the lowest votes polled by the JD-U candidate remained at 80! The party had made claims about party’s prospects in both the elections but was treated very badly.

This was not the first time that had JD-U had fared badly outside Bihar. Earlier, the party had fielded 28 candidates in the Assembly elections in Karnataka held in May this year but all had their security deposits forfeited.

Similar was the scene during recent Assembly elections in Gujarat where all 38 candidates suffered humiliating defeat. The JD-U had gone it alone in Gujarat after the BJP refused to ally with the party and even fielded 20 “star campaigners” there but this failed to work anyway.

In sharp contrast to him, Sharad Yadav-backed candidates emerged victorious from two of the four seats they had contested. The Assembly elections in Gujarat were held in December, 2017.

Prior to that, the JD-U had fielded its candidates in Kerala, Assam and West Bengal, hoping to cash in upon the “clean image” of Kumar who only recently had imposed total liquor ban in Bihar but it drew a blank. What was further humiliating was that on most of the seats the party forfeited its security deposit.

The biggest setback came from Kerala where it lost all the seven seats, including two sitting seats, despite the fact that Kumar himself had gone there to campaign for his party candidates. This was the first time that the JD-U was trying its luck in many states soon after him getting appointed the JD-U chief.

The setbacks came despite the fact that the JD-U had done a lot to homework, assessed the ground realities and entered into alliance with the regional parties before testing waters in elections. While it allied with UDF in Kerala, in Assam, it contested the elections in alliance with the perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal’s All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF). In West Bengal, it had an alliance with the Congress and the Left parties yet it failed to leave its mark anywhere.