Alliance route has struck gold for a beleaguered Congress in Bihar polls. Results and trends show that the party led by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi is set to bag 26 out of the 41 seats it contested by piggy riding Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad. This is against just four seats it secured in the 2010 polls in which it had contested all the 243 seats. With the Congress contesting limited number of seats, its percentage has come down to 6.7 per cent as against 8.37 per cent in 2010. In the last polls, 216 party candidates had forfeited their deposits.
Party wise, Congress continued to be at the fourth place in the vote percentage in this election too in which BJP has got 24.8 per cent, followed by RJD 18.5 and JD-U 16.7. Interestingly, independents who constituted a substantial number, have secured 9.7 per cent votes. In fact, Bihar is a first major victory for the party after the Lok Sabha polls in May last year that had plummeted its stock to the lowest ever - a mere 44 in the 543-member Lower House. The party had not done well in the Assembly polls of Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir. In Delhi, it had the ignominy of scoring a duck.
Congress was a dominant force in Bihar till 1989 ruling it for most of the time since independence barring a few years including those after the Emergency which had brought the undivided Janata Party to power on the call of "Total Revolution" by Jaya Prakash Narayan. For over a quarter of a century, Congress has become a marginalized force in the Hindi heartland of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in the wake of the Mandal and Mandir surge which saw emergence of the social justice forces and gave strength to the BJP. Incidentally, Rahul Gandhi today steered clear of questions whether the Congress would go for alliances in other election going states following the success in the Bihar polls.