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Bihar: NDA faces tough fight in Lok Sabha election Phase 1, Congress absent from fray

The Lok Sabha election 2019 in Bihar will see a fight between two alliances — the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the mahagathbandhan, or grand alliance, which includes the Congress. Four seats in Bihar — Gaya, Nawada, Jamui and Aurangabad — are going to the polls in the first phase of the seven-phase 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Phase 1 is likely to prove to be a challenge for NDA constituents — BJP, Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) and Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party. At the same time, the prestige of the Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal, Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samta Party and the Hindustan Awam Morcha, which are part of the mahagathbandhan are also at stake.

The Congress — also a part of the grand alliance — is not contesting from any seat in Bihar in Phase 1 of the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, of the four Bihar seats going to the polls this year in Phase 1, all four were won by the NDA. The BJP won the Gaya, Nawada and Aurangabad seats, while the LJP was successful in winning Jamui.

This year, the LJP is contesting from the Nawada and Jamui Lok Sabha seats, while the BJP is contesting from the Aurangabad Lok Sabha constituency. The other NDA member JD (U) is contesting from the Gaya Lok Sabha constituency.

Jitan Ram Manjhi’s party Hindustan Awam Morcha is contesting from the Aurangabad and Gaya Lok Sabha constituencies. On the other hand, the RLD is contesting from the Nawada seat and the RLSP from the Jamui Lok Sabha constituency.

Nawada: LJP vs RJD

In Bihar’s Nawada, LJP’s Chandan Kumar, fighting on behalf of the NDA, is up against the RJD’s Vibha Devi.

Even though the Nawada seat has many other contenders, it is likely to see a straight up contest between Chandan Kumar and Vibha Devi.

RJD’s Vibha Devi is married to suspended party MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav and LJP’s Chandan Kumar is the brother of Suraj Bhan Singh who used to be a dreaded gangster in the 1990s before he entered politics.

Yadav, a criminal-turned-politician, is currently lodged in Nawada jail in connection with an alleged rape case. He is also accused of illegal sand and stone mining in the area. RJD leader and wife of party chief Lalu Prasad, Rabri Devi, campaigned for Vibha Devi in Nawada in the run-up to the Lok Sabha election.

The Nawada seat is currently held by Union minister Giriraj Singh, who will be contesting from Begusarai Lok Sabha constituency this time around.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Giriraj Singh defeated RJD’s Raj Ballabh Yadav from the Nawada seat by 40,000 votes.

Aurangabad: Fight between BJP and HAM

In Bihar’s Rajput-dominated Aurangabad Lok Sabha constituency, BJP has fielded its sitting MP Sushil Kumar for the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Kumar will be up against Hindustan Awam Morcha’s Upendra Prasad. Kumar and Prasad are among a total of nine candidates who are contesting from Aurangabad in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Although Aurangabad is considered to be the traditional seat of the Congress, this time, the seat has been allotted to Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM (Manjhi has previously been the chief minister of Bihar).

While the BJP is hoping for a big win this time after tying up with the JD (U), the mahagathbandhan is in no mood to give up without a fight.

Jamui: The battle to save Paswan’s political heritage

The Jamui Lok Sabha seat is reserved for scheduled castes. For the 2019 polls, the NDA has fielded Ram Vilas Paswan’s son and current Jamui MP Chirag Paswan on an LJP ticket.

The RLSP, on the other hand, is fielding its state president — Bhudeo Chaudhary — on behalf of the mahagathbandhan. Chaudhary, who was earlier with the JD (U), had won the seat in 2009 as an NDA candidate.

In 2014, Chirag Paswan won the Jamui Lok Sabha seat with 85,945 votes. This time, the RLSP is betting big on the Dalit, Kushwaha, Yadav, Nishad and Muslim vote to help it beat Chirag Paswan.

Gaya: Manjhi vs Manjhi

A seat reserved for scheduled castes, Gaya comprises six Vidhan Sabha segments — Sherghati, Barachatti, Bodh Gaya, Gaya Town, Belaganj and Wazirganj. (Of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, 34 are unreserved, while six are reserved for scheduled caste candidates.)

In Gaya, former chief minister and Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM) president and former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, who has been an MLA for several terms in the past, is making yet another attempt to enter Parliament.

All of the 13 candidates in the fray in Gaya in 2019 are men. The contest is being seen to be primarily between Jitan Ram Manjhi and JD (U)’s Vijay Kumar Manjhi whose mother Bhagwati Devi, a daily wage earner, made headlines in the ’90s by getting elected to the Lok Sabha.

In 2014, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Hari Manjhi defeated Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Ramji Manjhi by 1,15,504 votes in Gaya. The seat saw an overall voter turnout of 53.93 per cent which included 51.40 per cent women and 56.21 per cent men.

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