Jehanabad: While most of the Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar are heading for a direct contest between the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and grand alliance, rebel candidates from several parties are likely to pose multi-corner contests in at least half a dozen seats in the state.
In a seven-phase Lok Sabha election, Bihar will head for the first phase of polling on April 11.
The case of Jehanabad turned interesting when RJD leader Tej Pratap Yadav decided to field his own candidate from the seat. While the RJD has again reposed faith in its Belaganj MLA Surendra Yadav, JD(U) has fielded Chandeshwar Prasad Chandrawanshi in this Bhumihar-Yadav dominated constituency.
The likely entry of sitting MP Arun Kumar as an independent candidate this time will make the triangular contests interesting. Arun belongs to Bhumihar caste.
Interestingly, Tej Pratap, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s elder son, has announced his support to one Chandra Prakash from this seat and his joining the fray will make it a multi-corner contest in Jehanabad.
In 2014, Arun Kumar was elected as an NDA candidate on the RLSP ticket by defeating RJD’s Surendra by over 42,000 votes. Later, he had differences with RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha, who himself switched over to RJD-led grand alliance recently.
Similar is the case with Madhepura where sitting MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav has filed his papers as an independent candidate against former Union minister Sharad Yadav, who is contesting on the RJD symbol. In 2014, Pappu had won a seat on the RJD ticket by defeating Sharad by a margin of about 56,000 votes. The JD(U) has fielded Dinesh Chandra Yadav. The voters belonging to Yadav caste are a decisive force in Madhepura. The RJD had expelled Pappu for abusing senior party leaders.
The BJP’s rebel candidate Putul Kumari Singh is set to contest against Giridhari Yadav of JD(U) and Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav of RJD in Banka. The clout of Putul, wife of former Union minister late Digvijay Singh, could be gauged from the fact that a large number of Rajput supporters accompanied her during the filing of nomination papers on March 18.
After she refused to withdraw her papers, BJP expelled her for six years.
Sridhar Mandal, a retired IPS officer who resigned from the BJP, is also trying his luck from Banka, a constituency which has mostly elected a Yadav or Rajput candidate in the Lok Sabha. The Yadav and Kushwaha voters are also in sizeable numbers and play a decisive role in the victory of candidates from this seat. In 2014, Jay Prakash (RJD) had defeated Putul (BJP) by a margin of 10,000 votes only.
Sheohar and Maharajganj
The Sheohar and Maharajganj constituencies in north Bihar are also likely to witness triangular fights. Former MP Lovely Anand, who recently joined the Congress, has announced he will contest as an independent candidate after the seat went to RJD under the seat-sharing formula of grand alliance comprising Congress, RJD, RLSP, HAM (S) and Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP).
The BJP has fielded its sitting MP Rama Devi from there. The RJD is yet to announce its candidate due to Tej Pratap’s demand for party ticket to Angesh Singh in this Rajput-Vaishya-Muslim dominated constituency. RJD, sources said, wanted to field Vaishali MP Rama Kishore Singh, also a Rajput, from that seat. Rama (BJP) had defeated Md Anwarul Haque (RJD) by over 36,000 votes in 2014.
Maharajganj, represented by sitting BJP MP Janardan Singh Sigriwal, is no exception. While the BJP has retained its candidate, RJD has fielded Randhir Singh. In 2014, Sigriwal had defeated former MP Prabhunath Singh of the RJD by over 38,000 votes. The entry of former MLC Mahachandra Prasad Singh in the fray will make the otherwise two-way contest a triangular fight.