Purnia (Bihar): The ruling NDA won the bypoll to Purnia Assembly constituency with BJP's Kiran Keshri defeating her nearest LJP-supported Congress rival Ramcharitra Yadav by a margin of 23,665 votes.
      
Riding on a sympathy wave, Kiran, whose husband and senior party MLA Raj Kishore Keshri was stabbed to death by teacher Rupam Pathak in full public view at his residence in Purnia on January 4 polled 53,732 votes against Yadav's 30,067 votes.
   
CPI-M nominee Amit Sarkar, son of slain party MLA Ajit Sarkar, finished third securing 17,113 votes. Rest of the four contestants Satish Sah (Ind) got 1,855 votes, Islamuddin (CPI-ML) got 1554 votes, Om Prakash Bhagat (JMM) bagged 898 votes and Krishna Kumar Jha (Ind) got 508 votes. They have to forfeit their security deposit.
      
The bypoll on June 25 was necessitated following the killing of Raj Kishore Keshri.
   
With the victory of Kiran Keshri, BJP managed to maintain its tally in the state assembly at 91.
    
Ruling JD(U) has now 114 members in the state assembly, one short of its original tally of 115 following the death of its MLA Jagmato Devi from Daraunda Assembly constituency in Bihar.
    
The bypoll brought to light the apparent rift between RJD-LJP combine seven months after the two parties put up a united show in October-November 2010 assembly polls in Bihar.
   
While RJD chief Lalu Prasad lent support to CPI-M nominee Amit Sarkar, LJP decided to back the Congress candidate.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar congratulated Kiran Keshri on her victory and thanked the people of Purnia for reposing faith in NDA.
     
BJP national spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the victory has proved that there has been "a performing government" in Bihar.

(Agencies)