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Jokihat Bypolls a Litmus Test for CM Nitish Kumar and NDA

The by-election was necessitated after sitting JD(U) lawmaker Sarfaraz Alam quit his party after JD(U) joined BJP and he shifted to RJD. He recently contested from the Araria Lok Sabha seat in March and also won the by-poll.

Utkarsh Singh | News18

Updated:May 27, 2018, 10:48 PM IST
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Jokihat Bypolls a Litmus Test for CM Nitish Kumar and NDA
File photo of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (PTI)
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Patna: The upcoming by-poll in Jokihat constituency of Bihar, which is scheduled for Monday, is being touted as a battle between Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav.

The Muslim-dominated constituency in Araria district had voted JD(U) to power in the past four elections, which led Nitish to come down to Jokihat along with half of his cabinet colleagues to campaign for JD(U) candidate - Murshid Alam.

BJP's Shahnawaz Hussain has also been camping in the constituency.

The high-pitched Jokihat by-polls is turning out to be a litmus test for Nitish Kumar whose popularity and prospect in Bihar will be put to test on Monday.

Tejaswi Yadav has time and again claimed in the past that the people of Bihar, especially the Muslims, have lost faith in Nitish Kumar after he split with the 'Mahagatbandhan'.

The by-election was necessitated after sitting JD(U) lawmaker Sarfaraz Alam quit his party after JD(U) joined BJP and he shifted to RJD. He recently contested from the Araria Lok Sabha seat in March and also won the by-poll.

RJD has now fielded Shahnawaz Alam, Sarfaraz Alam's younger brother for the Jokihat by-polls.

The JD(U) has pitted Murshid Alam, a former panchayat 'Mukhiya', who had joined the party a couple of years ago and pitted himself against Shahnawaz. Murshid has several criminal cases in his name, including charges of attempt to rape and murder.

Earlier, while addressing a public meet, Nitish Kumar had taken a swipe at Sarafarz, saying, "While I thank the people of Jokihat for having blessed us with victory in two consecutive assembly polls, I am sad that Sarfaraz deserted us and defected to RJD.”

Tejaswi Yadav, on the other hand, has accused the JD(U) chief of fielding "a tainted candidate, named in cases relating to heinous offences like murder, rape and loot". Yadav said the JD(U) candidate has also publicly shamed the CM on several occasions for being just the face of a government that is run by Narendra Modi and RSS.

Nitish Kumar held his last public meeting here on May 24 and a day later, rival Tejaswi also campaigned on the same ground with a larger audience.

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| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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