Patna: Bihar`s ruling Janata Dal-United (JD(U)) and Lalu Prasad`s RJD are licking their wounds after being worsted by the BJP-led NDA in legislative council polls.
Contrary to the ruling coalition`s expectations, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) got a morale booster ahead of assembly elections by winning 12 of the 24 seats.
And with an independent backed by the BJP winning yet another seat, BJP leaders are confident that they would repeat the performance in the coming assembly polls too.
Political analysts here admit that the results have given the BJP and its allies a definite psychological advantage.
"The results reflect the general mood in the state," senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi gloated.
At the same time, the results have shaken up Chief Minister Nitish Kumar`s JD(U) and Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad as well as the Congress.
The grand alliance of the JD(U), the RJD, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party won 10 seats. Another seat was bagged by an independent close to the RJD.
JD-U and RJD insiders admit that the results have shocked both their party leaders and workers who were confident of crushing the BJP.
They now complain that BJP president Amit Shah openly played the caste card to swing votes. He claimed that it was the BJP that gave the maximum number of OBC chief ministers and the first OBC prime minister - Narendra Modi.
Although the difference between the two sides is only two seats, senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh admitted that the result was "a red signal for us".
However, JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar downplayed the outcome, repeating the chief minister`s words that this was not an election where the common people voted.
Both the BJP and grand alliance leaders accused one another of using money and muscle power to influence the voters, mostly elected representatives of local village bodies and urban bodies.
Some JD(U) leaders say that RJD voters failed to transfer their votes to their party and voted on caste lines.
The victory of an independent, Ritlal Yadav, from Patna, who was till recently with the RJD, came as a big surprise as he not only defeated the JD(U)`s official candidate - who had the support of RJD - but also of the BJP.
Similarly, the defeat of the vice chairman of the Bihar Legislative Council, Salim Parwez of the JD(U), from Chapra, considered a stronghold of Lalu Prasad, has raised eyebrows.
Political activist Satya Narain Madan said the council results would favour BJP-led NDA in the upcoming polls.
"It has a clear-cut advantage over the grand alliance," he said.