80 candidates in fray for five LS seats in Bihar

Altogether 80 candidates, including 35 Independents, are in the fray, with three contestants being doctors….reports Asian Lite News

The five Bihar seats going to polls in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha polls on May 20 will witness new candidates on four seats, and a turncoat trying his luck from the remaining one.

In Hajipur (SC) and Saran, RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s daughter Rohini Acharya and Ram Vilas Paswan’s son Chirag Paswan face the challenges of protecting their father’s pocket boroughs, respectively.

Altogether 80 candidates, including 35 Independents, are in the fray, with three contestants being doctors.

In high-profile seat Saran, Rohini Acharya is pitted against BJP MP and former Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy. Acharya, who hit the headlines for donating one of her kidneys to her father RJD chief and former chief minister Lalu Prasad, is making her debut in electoral politics.

Saran is considered the home ground of Lalu Prasad, who had represented the seat four times before being disqualified after his conviction in cases linked to multi-crore fodder scam in 2013. In 2009, Lalu won after defeating Rudy.

In 2014 polls, Rudy emerged victorious after defeating Rohini’s mother and former chief minister Rabri Devi. In 2019, Rudy retained the seat by defeating Chandrika Rai, father in-law of Lalu’s eldest son Tej Pratap and also an influential leader of Yadavs in the region.

Saran has an almost equal number of backward Yadav and upper caste Rajput voters. While Yadavs favour RJD candidate, Rajputs vote by and large to BJP candidate. Rudy, however, claimed that his real fight was with Rohini’s father Lalu, who is in the fray from behind the scene.

In Hajipur (SC) seat, there is a direct contest between Chirag Paswan, chief of Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas), and Shiv Chandra Ram of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). For Chirag, it is more important to win election as Hajipur has been ‘karmabhoomi’ of his father late Ram Vilas Paswan.

Senior Paswan had represented the seat eight times before being nominated to the Rajya Sabha. In 2019, Chirag’s uncle and Ram Vilas younger brother Pashupati Kumar Paras had won by defeating Shiv Chandra Ram of RJD.

This time, Chirag decided to contest from Hajipur and fielded his brother in-law Arun Bharti from Jamui from where he was elected in 2014 and 2019.

Shiv Chandra, a former state minister, is confident of his victory as Chirag may fall victim of ‘bhitarghat’ (internal conflict) due to strained relationship with his uncle.

Paras, MP from Hajipur, was denied ticket and seat was allotted to Chirag’s party under seat-sharing arrangements among NDA constituents. Chiv Chandra is also popular among Ravidas community against whom Chirag had made some adverse comments. “There is resentment among members of Ravidas community over Chirag’s remarks,” said Pankaj Ram, a resident of Rajapakar in Vaishali district.

From Sitamarhi, JD(U) MP Sunil Kumar Pintoo was dropped in favour of Devesh Chandra Thakur, a close confidante of chief minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar. Devesh, chairman of Bihar Legislative Council, is contesting election for the first time. He is pitted against former MP and RJD leader Arun Rai.

In Madhubani, BJP’s Ashok Yadav had won 2019 election by defeating Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) candidate Bardi Kumar Purbey. But this time, INDIA bloc changed its candidate and fielded former Union minister and influential RJD leader Md Ali Ashraf Fatmi, who had earlier unsuccessfully contested Ashok’s father and four-time MP Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav.

In Muzaffarpur, the contest is between Dr Raj Bhushan Choudhary of BJP and Ajay Kumar Nishad of Congress (read INDIA bloc). Ajay had won in 2019 on BJP ticket but but was denied ticket this time. He joined Congress, which fielded him from Muzaffarpur.

Ajay Nishad, a turncoat, was rewarded with ticket by grand old party. While Ajay switched to Congress, Dr Raj Bhushan, who had fought from the seat on VIP ticket in 2019, joined BJP and was subsequently fielded.

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