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JD-U, BJP claim victory in Bihar, opposition struggles

Wednesday November 24, 2010 10:00:22 AM, IANS

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Bihar Elections: Verdict will decide high-stakes battle

Patna: Bihar's ruling alliance of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was Wednesday poised to retain power, with the vote count indicating a sweeping win in the assembly elections.

In the counting trends available in 177 of the 243 assembly seats, JD-U and BJP candidates were forging towards victory in 127 constituencies, crushing the divided opposition dreams of an upset verdict.

The Congress, which has been reduced to an also-ran in recent decades in Bihar, put up a humiliating show. Its candidates were ahead of others only in only a handful of seats.

Former chief minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) were on the victory lap only in 34 places.

The two parties were losing in some of their known strongholds.

"We are set to receive a massive mandate," JD-U MP and party leader Shivanand Tiwari said in New Delhi, crediting the widely expected victory to the policies of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

The BJP said the ruling alliance was poised for an emphatic win.

BJP state president C.P. Thakur said the ruling alliance was confident of securing a two-third majority.

In New Delhi, party spokesman Prakash Javadekar added: "The JD-U and BJP are headed for a historic victory. People are voting for an alliance that brought development as well as law and order to Bihar."

He said the people had clearly voted against the RJD's "15 years of jungle raj" - referring to the long rule of Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi.

Lalu Prasad's residence in the heart of Patna was deserted, its green gates firmly shut.

Exit polls have predicted a clear win for the JD-U and BJP, which took office in 2005.

Former chief minister Rabri Devi, wife of Lalu Prasad, was trailing in Raghopur -- one of the two constituencies from where she contested.

More than half of Bihar's over 55 million electorate voted from Oct 21 and Nov 20 to elect a new 243-member assembly.







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