Bihar 5th Phase: Challenge before NDA to repeat success of 2014
New Delhi, May 04: Five Parliamentary Constituencies (PCs) of Bihar will go to polls on May 06 in the fifth phase of on-going General Elections.
There is a direct fight between two alliances: the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and Grand Alliance, in Bihar which are fighting for the 40 Lok Sabha seats of the state.
While the NDA has Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Janata Dal (United)- JDU, and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP); the Grand Alliance includes Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Vikasshil Insan Party (VIP), and Union Minister of State Upendra Kushwaha led Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP).
Sitamarhi, Madhubani, Muzaffarpur, Saran, and Hajipur will vote on Monday. The challenge before the NDA is to repeat the success of 2014 as it had bagged all the seats in 2014 elections.
There are 82 candidates including 6 Women who will be contesting for the five Lok Sabha seats.
As per the data available, there are total 8766722 voters (8749847 General and 16875 Service voters) in these five PCs, out of which 4678401 are male, 4088096 female and 225 third gender voters.
The Election Commission has set up 8,899 polling stations in these constituencies.
The Sitamarhi Lok Sabha Constituency is currently held by Ram Kumar Sharma of RLSP. In the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, Sharma had defeated Sitaram Yadav of RJD by receiving 45.70 per cent of the votes cast in this constituency.
There are 20 candidates in the fray. As per the seat sharing agreement, the RLSP, which was a part of the NDA, has not fielded a candidate from Sitamarhi and there is a direct fight between Sunil Kumar Pintu of JD (U) and Arjun Ray of RJD.
Interestingly, Dr Varun Kumar was given JD (U) ticket but the party had to import Sunil Kumar Pintu from the BJP as Kumar returned the party symbol expressing his "inability" to contest the Lok Sabha poll.
Presently, Sitamarhi Lok Sabha constituency comprises six Assembly segments: Bathnaha, Parihar, Sursand, Bajpatti, Sitamarhi, Runnisaidpur, and Sonabarsa.
The Congress had won the seat for the last time in 1984, and after that, it is being bagged either by the Janata Dal or its offshoots.
The RJD won the seat in 1998 and in 2004. JD (U) candidate Arjun Ray had bagged the seat in 2009.
There are 17 candidates in the fray from Madhubani. The BJP has fielded Ashok Yadav, son of its four-time MP Hukmdev Narayan Yadav, who will be facing VIP candidate Badri Purbe, a businessman based out of Darbhanga and son for a former MLA.
However, the fight has become triangular after former Congress leader Dr. Shakeel Ahmad has filed nomination as an Independent candidate. Ahmad had won the seat in 1998 and 2004.
Madhubani has the highest population of Brahmins (35%), followed by Muslims (19%) and Nishad (10%) voters. Yadavs and the most backward classes (MBC) also form a sizeable chunk. Vaishyas form around 6% of the voters.
Presently, Madhubani Lok Sabha constituency comprises six Assembly segments: Harlakhi, Benipatti, Bisfi, Madhubani, Keoti, and Jale.
In 2015 Bihar Assembly Elections, RJD won three seats and Congress, BJP and RLSP won one each. The lone Congress MLA from Benipatti, Bhavna Jha is also supporting Ahmad, who is likely to get non-BJP votes from every caste and this vote divide is going to benefit the BJP, which is eyeing to win the seat to make the hat-trick.
The BJP camp in Madhubani is a happy lot as Former RJD MP Ali Ashraf Fatimi, who rebelled from the party, is also working hard to defeat the Alliance candidate Badri Purbe.
Though battle in Muzaffarpur is for the Lok Sabha seat but the result will also decide who will lead the Mallah (boatman) community in Bihar. The parliamentary constituency is dominated by Mallah voters.
The Mallah caste comes under extremely backward class (EBC) bracket, carrying surnames like Nishad, Sahni, and Manjhi.
This time the fight is between two Mallahs. The BJP has fielded its sitting MP Ajay Nishad, who is dubbed as the symbol of Mallah empowerment in Bihar.
He is carrying forward the legacy of his late father Jai Narayan Nishad, who had registered three consecutive wins in 1996, 1998 and 1999 Lok Sabha polls.
The VIP party's candidate in Muzaffarpur is Raj Bhushan Choudhary Nishad, a medical doctor by training. Interestingly, Mukesh Sahni led VIP has emerged as a party exclusively to fight for the rights of Mallahs. Even the election symbol of the party is Boat with Man and Sail.
The Mallah community has been pro-NDA, however, the political equations have changed after emergence of the VIP.
The Saran Lok Sabha constituency was formerly known as Chapra constituency. The RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav had started his political innings from this constituency in 1977.
The BJP has fielded former union minister and sitting MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy, and he is facing former Bihar minister and RJD candidate Chandrika Rai, who is also the father-in-law of Lalu Prasad's elder son Tej Pratap.
It is notable that Tej Pratap has filed a divorce petition and has appealed the people not to vote for Rai and termed him as 'Bahrupia' (dissembler) and 'Girgit' (chameleon).
The seat has the dominance of two castes: Rajputs and Yadavs. In the past 15 Lok Sabha elections since independence, Rajputs and Yadavs have won the seat eight and seven times, respectively.
In 2014, Rudy had defeated Rabri Devi, the wife of Lalu Prasad.
Hajipur Lok Sabha is known for Union Minister and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) President Ram Vilas Paswan, who has won the seat 10 times. He had won the seat in his debut election in 1977 with a record margin of over 4.2 lakh votes.
Now, he has decided not to contest polls and fielded his brother Pashupati Kumar Paras as the NDA candidate. He will be facing RJD candidate Shiv Chandra Ram. A total of 11 candidates are in the fray from the seat.