After failing to open its account in the last four general elections, the Left now has a golden opportunity to make a turnaround in Bihar.

The CPI is contesting from this constituency and Banka in alliance with the ruling JD(U).

The Left, as such, have not been able to put up a united face primarily because the JD(U) failed to accommodate the CPI(M), though the former is part of the 11-party non-BJP, non-Congress alternative forged by the Left.

The CPI and the CPI(M) have, however, avoided a direct clash in the seats they are contesting.

The CPI(ML) has fielded candidates in 23 constituencies in two of which the CPI (M) too is contesting — Ujiyarpur and West Champaran. The other two seats the CPI(M) contesting are Darbhanga and Khagaria.

The CPI continues to have a good presence in Begusarai notwithstanding its failure to win the seat in the last four editions.

Its candidate Shatrughan Prasad Singh had lost to the JD (U)-BJP candidate Monazir Hassan by 40,000 votes in 2009.

To accommodate the CPI, the JD(U) has made Mr. Hassan sit out this time, but placated him by fielding his wife Shabnam Parveen for the by-election in the Sahebpur Kamal Assembly constituency.

The CPI has replaced Mr. Singh, former MP from Balia, with its former MLA Rajendra Prasad Singh who represented Barauni Assembly seat, now renamed as Teghra -- from 1995 to 2010. The CPI has fielded Sanjay Kumar Yadav from Banka.

The differences over the issue of candidature were ironed out after the arrival of party general secretary S. Sudhakar Reddy.

The former MP and his supporters are extending their support to the official nominee. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has campaigned for the CPI.

Local CPI leaders are banking not only on Mr. Kumar’s achievements but also on his vote bank in addition to its own traditional votes.

The CPI nominee is locked in a triangular contest in this constituency which was once an industrial hub which helped build its base among the workers through trade union activities. The party had won the seat in 1967 and 1996.

Mr. Singh’s contest is with RJD candidate Tanvir Hassan, MLC, and BJP MP Bhola Prasad Singh who has shifted from Nawada constituency from where he had won in 2009 apparently fearing an anti-incumbency factor.

The BJP candidate however prevailed upon the party leadership to give him the ticket from Begusarai overlooking the claims of former minister and MLA Giriraj Singh, who is now in the news because of his statement that those opposed to Narendra Modi belonged to Pakistan.

Giriraj Singh, who eventually shifted to Nawada, has been banned from campaigning besides facing arrest warrants.

Bhola Prasad Singh has been elected to the Assembly eight times from Begusarai, on different party ticket, but the BJP on its own has never won this Lok Sabha seat.

While its split with the JD(U) makes its task all the more difficult, the BJP is hoping that its new ally LJP would fill the breach.

But local BJP leaders charged that he was not receiving the expected support from party leadership either from Patna or Delhi.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad, of course, is leaving no stone unturned to brighten the prospects of his candidate in this battle of heavyweights.

RELATED NEWS

Constituency watch: BiharMarch 7, 2014