Bihar

Second phase of Bihar Assembly elections on November 3

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar addresses an election rally for Assembly polls, in Bhagalpur on October 31, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The second phase of the Bihar Assembly election on November 3 across 17 districts is likely to decide electoral fate of JD(U)-led NDA and RJD-led UPA. Of the 94 seats at stake in this phase, the RJD is contesting 56, the BJP 46 and the JD(U) 43.

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The Congress has put up candidates in 24 constituencies while the three Left parties are in teh fray in 14 seats. The NDA ally Vikasheel Insaan Party (VIP) will be contesting 5 seats out of total 11 seats allotted to them.

In 28 seats, RJD candidates will be locked in direct contest with BJP nominees while on 24 seats they will be taking on JD(U) candidates. Congress candidates will be contesting 12 seats each against the JD(U) and BJP nominees. The VIP candidates, in this phase poll, are pitched against RJD candidates on all 5 seats.

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Raghopur in Vaishali and Hasanpur in Samastipur districts will vote in this phase, deciding the fate of brothers Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav respectively. At Raghopur, the RJD’s CM nominee and anointed heir of Lalu Prasad, Tejashvi appears safe but, at Hasanpur, Tej Pratap is locked in a tough battle against two-time sitting MLA Rajkumar Rai of JD(U).

Second phase of Bihar Assembly elections on November 3
 

2015 results

In the 2015 Assembly elections, the RJD has won 33 of these 94 seats, while 30 seats had gone to the JD(U). The BJP and Congress had registered wins on 20 and seven seats respectively while the Lok Janshakti Party had won two. One seat each had gone to the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) and Independent candidates.

The RJD and JD(U) had contested together in 2015 and won 151 seats (RJD-80, JD-U 71) to form the government in 243 Assembly. The BJP had got 53 seats.

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Nitish under stress

This time, though, Mr. Kumar is facing a huge corrosion in his image across the State to retain his chair for a fourth consecutive term.

For the first time, Mr. Kumar appears to be banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity to win seats. Earlier, it was the BJP that had ridden piggyback on the JD(U)’s success.

Significantly, a decade back in 2010, Mr. Kumar had not allowed the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to campaign in the State, issuing a covert threat of snapping the alliance, if the BJP sent him and Varun Gandhi to campaign in Bihar. The BJP leadership had bowed to his diktat then.

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Ten years down the line, the Bihar Chief Minister finds himself on the back foot amid raging anti-incumbency and aggressive attacks from much younger opponents — the RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav and LJP’s Chirag Paswan.

Mr. Modi is scheduled to address two public meetings in Bihar on Sunday. Earlier he had addressed as many as six rallies across the State, consistently backing Mr Kumar as the NDA’s CM face.

Close margins

In 2015, the victory margin on 18 of these 94 seats was less than 5,000 votes. Those 18 candidates included senior ministers in Mr. Kumar’s cabinet, Nand Kishore Yadav (BJP) from the Patna Sahib constituency and Shrawan Kumar (JD-U) from Nalanda.

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Former MP Lovely Anand had lost from Sheohar by just 461 votes. This time Ms Anand, wife of imprisoned bahubali Anand Mohan Singh, is contesting on an RJD ticket. On the other hand, RJD’s Mohd. Nemtullah won from Barauli in Gopalganj district by just 504 votes. From Chanpatia seat in West Champaran district, the BJP candidate Prakash Rai had won the poll by 464 votes.

Both Mohd. Nemtullah and Mr Rai have been dropped by their parties this time.

“Yes, this round of poll in Bihar is likely to clear the picture a bit about which alliance is going to form government in the State, as not less than 94 seats are going to poll,” political analyst Ajay Kumar told The Hindu.

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Printable version | Nov 25, 2020 8:02:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/bihar-assembly/second-phase-of-bihar-polls-on-nov-3/article32990437.ece

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