Patna Sahib’s Shatrughan Factor, Lalu Family's Prestige Battle in Pataliputra Heightens Poll Mood in Last Phase in Bihar
In the last phase of polling, four union ministers are also among the candidates in fray. From Patna Shaib, union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is pitted against Congress’ Shatrughan Sinha.
Patna: As Bihar is braced for the final phase of voting for eight Lok Sabha seats on May 19, the key battle is between the NDA and the mahaghatbandhan. However, the Jahanbad seat makes an exception with the contest being triangular where the RLSP (secular) contestant Arun Kumar is a strong contender.
In the last phase of polling, four union ministers are also among the candidates in fray. From Patna Shaib, union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is pitted against Congress’ Shatrughan Sinha. With the party chief of both Congress as well the BJP holding roadshows here, the poll tempers are high in this high profile seat.
Sinha represented the constituency in 2009 and 2014 when he was a member of the BJP and is confident of making a mark again, on Congress ticket. On the other hand, Prasad is contesting on the BJP symbol and relies more on his cadres and charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Locals are divided over who will win the seat this time.
“Though this is traditionally a BJP seat, but this time contest is not one-sided. Both the candidates are heavy-weights. So the contest is going to be interesting,” said Rajednra Prasad, a local.
People say that the Patna Shaib seat has been a cake walk for the BJP, but this time may be a surprise.
Patna consists of two Lok Sabha seats, Patna Sahib and Pataliputra. More 20 lakh people comprise the electorate in Patna Sahib.
In Pataliputra, Ramkripal Yadav, a former loyalist of Lalu Prasad Yadav, is fielded against Lalu’s daughter Misa Bharti. The RJD had lost the seat to Ranjan Prasad Yadav of JD(U) in 2009 and Ramkripal Yadav of the BJP in 2014. Lalu Yadav was fielded by the party in 2009, while Bharti was nominated in 2014.
The Lalu family is putting its best efforts to avenge the defeat of 2009 and 2014. Here, Yadavs and Bhumihars are in highest numbers followed by Kushwaha, Rajput, Vaish and Manjhi.
Independent candidate Rajesh Kumar Singh is further making the battle interesting as he is considered to be a spoiler for the BJP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Paliganj is said to have given final push. The candidates in fray are leaving no stone unturned to woo the votes.
Buxar and Arah are the other two seats where Ashwini Choubey and RK Singh of the BJP are trying their luck for the second consecutive time.
Choubey, in Buxar, is pitted against popular RJD leader Jagdanand Singh, whereas RK Singh in Arah is fielded against Raju Yadav of CPI (ML) of the grand alliance.
“The BJP will win for sure as people want to see Narendra Modi as the prime minister again,” Choubey said.
Choubey and Singh are relying heavily on the prime minister’s popularity though Singh’s popularity is rising due to the developmental projects that he introduced in Arah. But he is fielded against Raju Yadav of CPI (ML) who is known for his fighting spirit against various issues in the region.
In Karakat, RLSP leader Upendra Kushwaha, after having switched from the NDA to the grand alliance, is contesting against Mahabali Singh of the JD (U). Kushwaha had won last time and served served as a minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet till the end of 2018.
Sasaram is another high profile seat where former Lok Sabha speaker Meera Kumar is pitted against Chedi Paswan of the BJP. Paswan had won in 2014. But Kumar, being the daughter of former deputy prime minister Jagjeevan Ram, is giving a tough fight. Anti-incumbency against Paswan may give Kumar another chance to represent Sasaram in 2019.
Jahanabad and Nalanda are fought by the NDA partner JD(U). Nalanda is home constituency of Nitish Kumar. Sitting MP Kaushlendra Kumar is contesting against HUM’s Ashok Chandra Vanshi. Sitting MP of Jahanabad Arun Kumar from the RLSP is fighting against JD(U) candidate Chandeshwar Kumar Chandravanshi and RJD’s Surender Yadav. Arun Kumar is proving to be a tough seat for the candidates in Jahanabad constituency.
Ajay Singh, general secretary of the youth wing of the RJD is confident of winning all the seats. “People are going to discard them due to poor performance,” he said.
But the JD(U)’s Neeraj Kumar denies the claim and exudes confidence of holding the seat. “We are concentrating at micro level to translate our votes. We are confident of better performance because people want the NDA to come back to power,” he said.