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    Bihar Election 2020: BJP Turncoats Contesting from LJP Could Makes Things Worse for NDA on at Least 8 Seats

    File photo of LJP chief Chirag Paswan with JDU president and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. (PTI)

    File photo of LJP chief Chirag Paswan with JDU president and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. (PTI)

    Chirag Paswan’s selection of candidates could end up hurting the NDA, especially CM Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United in Bihar as the party is giving seats to rebels from the BJP.


    Rajiv Kumar

    Recently Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan called himself the “Hanuman” of PM Narendra Modi. Though no one knows how much bhakti he has for PM Modi and the BJP, but a closer look at the choice of the candidates for his parties tells a different story. Paswan’s selection of candidates could end up hurting the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), especially CM Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United (JD(U) in Bihar as the party is giving seats to rebels from the BJP.

    Of the 71 seats going to polls in the first phase on October 28, LJP is contesting on 38 seats- all against the JD(U) and Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM-S. In at least 8 out of the 38 seats, LJP will play a definite role in deciding the losers, if not the winners.

    In Rohtas’s Dinara assembly seat NDA has sitting JD (U) MLA and State’s Science and Technology minister Jay Kumar Singh contesting against Vijay Kumar Mandal of the Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD). The entry of former BJP leader Rajendra Prasad Singh on LJP ticket has made situation shaky for the JD(U) candidate. With over 62,000 votes Rajendra Prasad Singh was runner-up in the last assembly polls on BJP ticket. He lost the seat to state minister Jay Kumar Singh in 2015 by a thin margin of over 2500 votes when JD (U) was part of the Mahagathbandhan. Since then he has been nurturing the constituency waiting for the next opportunity. But the seat remained with the JD(U) in the NDA seat-sharing agreement. Left with no alternative Singh switched to the LJP.

    Singh, a former state BJP vice-president is known for his proximity to the Sangh parivar. He was a potential CM candidate for BJP in 2015 assembly polls. Besides he was also instrumental in BJP’s 2014 Lok Sabha victory in Jharkhand. Both Jay Kumar Singh and Rajendra Prasad Singh are from the Rajput community, the second highest in the constituency which has Yadav leading in terms of voter population. The RJD state president Jagada Nand Singh also belongs to the same Rajput community. This will trifurcate the Rajput voters and could make it easier for Vijay Mandal of the RJD.

    Expelled BJP leader Dr Usha Vidyarthi won the Paliganj assembly seat in 2010 on BJP ticket. She was working within her constituency in the five years and she was expecting the seat to fall under BJP’s quota. However, the seat went to the JD(U) and Vidyarthi, eager to contest, joined the LJP.

    Bhumihar-dominated Jehanabad in central Bihar is another constituency where another BJP turncoat Indu Devi Kashyap is challenging the JD(U) candidate on LJP ticket. The Bhumihar predominant district with three assembly seats going to the JD(U) has left the influential caste group sulking as they traditionally support the BJP. Kashyap, herself a Bhumihar, is pitted against state education minister Krishnandan Prasad Verma who has shifted from neighbouring Ghosi to this seat. This clash between supporters of Kashyap and Verma could help RJD’s Kumar Krishna Mohan alias Suday Yadav win the seat.

    Likewise in east Bihar’s Amarpur constituency BJP turncoat Mrinal Shekhar is contesting from LJP ticket. Shekhar was runner-up in the last assembly polls and polled 40.24% votes against Janardhan Manjhi of the Nitish’s party. Manjhi’s son Jayant Raj is contesting from JD(U) against Jitendra Singh of the Congress.

    Similarly, South East Bihar’s Jhajha seat went to JD (U) in the seat-sharing. Ravindra Yadav, BJP’s sitting MLA from the seat jumped the ship to join the LJP and is contesting against NDA from the same seat. He is defending his seat from JD(U)’s Damodar Rawat, the runner-up of 2015 and winner of 2010 assembly polls. The clash between the two may turn out in RJD’s favour.

    Sherghati in south Bihar’s Gaya district is another seat where the LJP candidate may dent JD (U)’s prospects. Mukesh Kumar Yadav the runner-up on HAM-S ticket in 2015 is the LJP candidate. He lost the last election by a narrow margin of only five thousand votes. JD (U) sitting MLA Vinod Prasad Yadav too comes from the same community in this assembly seat where the Yadav community is in sizeable number. The division of Yadav votes could benefit the RJD candidate Manju Agrawal.

    Atri, another seat in Gaya district, is witnessing a similar situation. Arvind Kumar Singh, the current LJP candidate was runner-up in the last assembly polls. He had secured over 30% votes against RJD’s Kunti Devi. He will face JD(U)’s Manorma Devi, mother of Rocky Yadav who is serving jail term in Aditya Sachdeva murder case and RJD’s Ajay Yadav.

    In Gobindpur Assembly seat in central Bihar’s Nawada district, LJP has fielded Ranjit Prasad Yadav. The party was runner-up in 2010 assembly polls and has decent number of supporters in the constituency. The sitting Congress MLA Purnima Yadav is contesting from Nitish’s party. The split in Yadav votes between Ranjit Prasad Yadav and Purnima Yadav may help RJD’s Mohd Kamran in this seat where Yadav voters are in deciding position.

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