Sunday, December 10, 2023

Nitish Kumar Loses Key Election In This Bihar Seat

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The Kurhani assembly seat by-election in Bihar did not favour Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his seven-party Grand Alliance. Kedar Gupta of the BJP won by 3,662 votes against Manoj Kushwaha of the Janata Dal United. First, since Mr. Kumar broke off his coalition with the BJP, the strength test was viewed as a type of referendum on the new Mahagathbandhan in Bihar.

Mr. Kumar has previously lost two elections for the Kudhani assembly seat. A lot of it was dependent on timing and good fortune.

Kedar Gupta won in 2015, the year Mr. Kumar headed the first Grand Alliance, albeit as a BJP candidate.

When Mr. Kumar was a member of the NDA in 2020 and Kedar Gupta ran as an NDA candidate, he came in second to Anil Sahni of the Rashtriya Janata Dal by 712 votes.

After RJD MLA Anil Kumar Sahani was disqualified after being sentenced to prison in a corruption case, byelections in the Kurhani assembly seat were required.

The win, which the BJP will be proud of having secured with a respectable margin against a seven-party coalition, is anticipated to embolden the Chief Minister’s critics.

The majority of Mr. Kumar’s Janata Dal United leaders attribute the loss to Manoj Kushwaha’s reputation as their candidate. According to reports, Mr. Kushwaha’s intervention, particularly at the municipal level, has upset many people.

The Chief Minister’s prohibition on alcohol, which even Mr. Kumar’s ardent followers acknowledge off the record, is the true cause. The law, which went into effect in April 2016, forbids both toddy and branded alcohol.

Leaders claim that this is political suicide since it has harmed the employment of thousands of members of the Dalit community throughout the whole state. There was a lot of anger among the locals about the police response to incidents of toddy prohibition breaches.

As a result, the coalition lost in the Kurhani seat, which has a Dalit population of roughly 18%. Now, JD(U) leaders are hopeful that the outcome of this election would compel a revision of the state’s alcohol laws.

However, Mr. Kumar has steadfastly supported the ban, which has earned him the favour of the state’s women. In October 2016, after the Patna High Court knocked aside the liquor prohibition, the Nitish Kumar administration brought in the contentious Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 – a new legislation which opponents dubbed harsh because of its stringent penalties.

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