Lok Sabha Polls 2019: In Bihar Battle, Pocket Boroughs Of Lalu Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan Vote Today

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: A total of 87.50 lakh voters, including 40.87 lakh women and 225 "third gender", will decide the electoral fate of the candidates in Bihar today.

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Lok Sabha Polls 2019: In Bihar Battle, Pocket Boroughs Of Lalu Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan Vote Today

Bihar polls: Voting for 5 constituencies - Hajipur, Saran, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi and Madhubani today.


Patna: 

Altogether 82 candidates are up for five Lok Sabha seats in Bihar where polling will be held today in the fifth phase of elections

Of the five seats, Hajipur and Saran are considered pocket boroughs of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) of Ram Vilas Paswan and the RJD of Lalu Prasad respectively. The other three constituencies are Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi and Madhubani.

A total of 87.50 lakh voters, including 40.87 lakh women and 225 "third gender", will decide the electoral fate of the candidates.

Hajipur, a reserved seat, has for long remained synonymous with Ram Vilas Paswan, who had first won it in 1977 riding the anti-Emergency wave and registering a record margin. Now, he has announced his retirement from direct elections while making it clear that he was not bidding adieu to politics.

The Union minister is serving his ninth term as the Hajipur MP and although he had won it in 2014 by more than two lakh votes, he had lost the seat by around 40,000 votes five years earlier to Ram Sundar Das of the JD(U).

The LJP fielded his younger brother and state minister Pashupati Kumar Paras from Hajipur this time.

This is the first time that the JD(U) and the LJP are together in the BJP-led NDA. This may bolster the prospects of Paras who faces competition from RJD's Shivchandra Ram. 

Shivchandra Ram is a sitting MLA and stated to be popular among Dalits and Yadavs who normally back his party and have a large presence in Hajipur. This Lok Sabha seat will test the waters for the RJD too as it comprises Raghopur and Mahua assembly segments represented by jailed party supremo Lalu Prasad's sons Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav respectively.

Saran, previously known as Chhapra, has been a pocket borough of Lalu Prasad, who made his electoral debut from the seat in 1977 and had last won it in 2009, defeating BJP's Rajiv Pratap Rudy, four years before losing the membership of Lok Sabha on account of conviction in a fodder scam case which also rendered him disqualified from contesting elections. 

His wife Rabri Devi failed to retain the seat for RJD in 2014, losing it to Rajiv Pratap Rudy by over 40,000 votes. The party has now fielded its Parsa MLA Chandrika Rai whose daughter is married to Tej Pratap Yadav, the party supremo's elder son. 

Tej Pratap Yadav is engaged in a marital dispute and his public expression of anger over the party nominating his father-in- law has made the battle in the seat an intriguing one. 

Rajiv Pratap Rudy finds himself better poised this time with the JD(U) by his side which had polled over one lakh votes five years ago when it fought separately.

In Madhubani, sitting MP Hukumdev Narayan Yadav has hung his boots and the BJP has replaced him with his son Ashok Yadav, who is being challenged by a fractured Mahagathbandhan. 

Officially, the opposition alliance's candidate is Badri Purve, a nominee of the fledgling Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP). The pitch has, however, been queered with veteran Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed, who has represented the seat in the past, throwing his hat in the ring as an independent.

The CPI which had won Madhubani many times till the late 1990s has issued a statement supporting Ahmed "in the interest of defeating the BJP". Former RJD heavyweight Mohd Ali Ashraf Fatmi, who recently quit the party and had filed nomination papers as a BSP candidate, withdrew the same on the last date in favour of the rebel Congress candidate.

Sitamarhi is held by Ram Kumar Sharma of Upendra Kushwaha's RLSP which was with the NDA till December last year before gravitating towards the Mahagathbandhan. After being denied a ticket, Ram Kumar Sharma has revolted and has been seen in NDA meetings. However, he is not contesting and the NDA candidate is Sunil Kumar alias Pintu of the JD(U).

From the Mahagathbandhan, the candidate is veteran socialist leader Arjun Rai who had won the seat on a JD(U) ticket in 2009 but finished a distant third five years later when the party fought separately from the NDA. He has been now fielded by the RJD, which was the runner-up last time.



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