What lies ahead of Shatrughan Sinha in Patna Sahib?
New Delhi, May 13: Patna Sahib Lok Sabha seat in Bihar is one of those seats that is being keenly watched by the political analysts and media. For, sitting dissident Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Shatrughan Sinha is contesting this time on a Congress ticket and he would be facing BJP candidate Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
The elections in this constituency will be held during the seventh phase of Lok Sabha elections on May 19, 2019.
There are total 19,46,249 voters in the parliamentary constituency, which consists of Bakhtiarpur, Digha, Bankipur, Kumhrar, Patna Sahib, and Fatuha Assembly constituencies.
Out of these, all the five assembly seats are with the BJP. Only Fathua seat is with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
Due to its large Kayastha (upper caste) population, Patna Sahib seat is considered one of the safest seats for BJP in India.
It was created from the erstwhile Patna Lok Sabha constituency in 2008 after delimitation and that made it an urban seat. The second seat that came into existence after the delimitation is Patliputra.
Sinha, who is a Kayastha, has been winning Patna Sahib seat since 2009. He is eyeing to make a hat-trick by defeating Prasad, who is also a Kayastha and like Sinha, belongs to Patna. Prasad, however, is contesting Lok Sabha election for the first time.
According to the sources, the BJP high command has tasked Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and Patliputra MP Ram Kripal Yadav to ensure a sounding defeat of rebel Sinha.
Yadav, who won erstwhile Patna Lok Sabha seat thrice in 1991, 1996 and 2004, has considerable influence in Patna Sahib.
According to a Bihar BJP leader, the party leaders and workers realise that losing Patna Sahib will send a wrong signal in the country as Shatrughan Sinha had questioned the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah.
"Our cadres are determined to show Sinha that he had won the seat because of the party and not due to his stardom as the voters of Patna Sahib have always preferred BJP and its ideology and not stars. If Sinha was so confident of his stardom then why didn't he fight the election as an Independent? We will ensure that he tastes a humiliating defeat this time, " says the Bihar BJP leader.
It's notable that the Congress had fielded film actor Shekhar Suman in 2009 and Bhojpuri superstar Kunal Singh in 2014 but both lost the elections.
Another problem that actor-turned-politician will face is that he won't be having the support of dedicated BJP cadres this time.
He will have to bank upon his appeal and a handful of Congress workers.
Since Sinha enjoys good relations with Lalu Yadav family, so the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) workers are working whole-heartedly for him, says another source.
A myth is also staring at Sinha that till date no candidate has been able to win Patna seat, out of which Patna Sahib came into existence, three times in a row.
In the elections held after Independence, Congress won the Patna Lok Sabha constituency in 1952, 1957 and 1962. Congress, however, dropped Sarangarhar Sinha, the winning candidate of 1952 and 1957 during 1962 Lok Sabha elections. After this, the Communist Party of India (CPI) candidate Ram Awatar Shastri could also win the seat twice in 1967 and 1971.
Ramkripal Yadav won Patna Lok Sabha seat twice in 1991 and 1996 as Janata Dal candidate but lost elections in 1998.
BJP candidate C.P Thakur won the seat in 1998 and 1999 but was defeated by RJD candidate Ram Kripal Yadav in 2004.