Jokihat By poll: JDU fall short in wooing Muslim Voters


Shams Khan


Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar hope to carve out victory by snatching sizeable Muslims vote from the RJD in Jokihat assembly by poll was dashed on Thursday. Despite giving ticket to a Muslim candidate JDU appeal among the community stands low.

But the question remains that why JDU could not convince the Muslim voters of the constituency this time while the party had won the last three successive elections--in 2005 and 2010 being part of the NDA and in 2015 being part of Grand alliance.
Observers pointed out that few recent incidents dented the JDU prospect in the Jokihat: Nitish helplessness in tackling the situation arising out of tape controversy. Immediately after the by poll victory of the RJD's Sarfaraz Alam in Araria on March 14 some Muslim youths were arrested on the charge of raising pro Pakistan slogan. However, the RJD out rightly rejected the allegation. Independent sources including Alt news also confirmed that no such sloganeering happened.

In the same way the tensions and violence on the eve of Ram Navmi all over the state, including Araria cancelled out any effort on the part of Nitish to woo Muslims voters.

Apart from this the manner in which the convener of ‘Deen Bachao Desh Bachao’ rally was made MLC on the same day (April 15) did not leave a good impression. The community thought that Nitish has tried to play politics and divide Muslims where there was no such scope.

Though NDA pretend to not make a big deal out of the defeat yet the disappointment is obvious. Their usual line of defense is: 'Jokihat has been RJD leader Taslimuddin bastion. Since he died recently, it was a sympathy vote for his son. Had the JDU retained Sarfraz Alam to its fold the result would have been different.'

While the defeat could have further diminished the JDU bargaining position vis-a-vis the BJP but thanks to the NDA's overall poor show in ten out of eleven assemblies, the results of which announced on Thursday, Nitish Kumar's party got some breathing space. In fact, JDU straight away turned the ball in the BJP's court; party general Secretary K.C. Tyagi blamed the rising petrol prices and the angst among farmers and Dalits for the debacle.

K. C. Tyagi statements operate as a barometer for capturing the state of health of the coalitions where JDU is a partner. It was his statements which precisely gauged the actual pressure that Grand Alliance was faced with that ultimately led to JDU's exit. Hence, Tyagi comment assumes significance and points to palpable tension between JDU and BJP.
While riding out on its traditional vote bank, Muslims and Yadavs, RJD maintained the winning streak. Still, Araria as well as Jokihat are Muslim dominated constituencies and Jehanabad a traditional Yadav stronghold is not such a feat to be exaggerated.



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