Nitish coalition loses Harlakhi Assembly bypoll

RLSP candidate Sudhansu Sekhar, riding on a sympathy wave, defeated his Congress rival Mohammad Shabir by a margin of 18,650 votes.

Madhubani: Nearly three months after its stupendous victory, the Grand Secular Alliance in Bihar on Tuesday suffered a setback losing Harlakhi Assembly bypoll to BJP ally Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) candidate by 18,650 votes.

Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha led RLSP candidate Sudhansu Sekhar, riding on a sympathy wave, defeated his Congress rival Mohammad Shabir by a margin of 18,650 votes.

Upendra's father Basant Kushwaha had died a day before oath taking in November last year.

Returning Officer Bishnudeo Mandal said while RLSP nominee polled 62,434 votes, the Congress candidate bagged 43,784 votes and CPI Ram Naresh Pandey 19,835.

The victory margin of the RLSP candidate is almost five times more than his father, who had defeated the same Congress candidate Mohammad Shabir in October-November poll by about 3,600 votes.

With today's victory, the tally of RLSP goes up to two in the 16th Bihar Assembly while that of NDA to 58 in the 243-member House. BJP has 53 MLAs, LJP 2, RLSP 2 and Hindustani Awam Morcha of Jitan Ram Manjhi 1.  

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