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Bihar bypoll | Vikassheel Insaan Party to pit candidate against ally BJP in Bochaha

The BJP has announced Baby Kumari as its candidate for the Bochaha bypoll.

The BJP has announced Baby Kumari as its candidate for the Bochaha bypoll. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

After pitting candidates against alliance partner BJP on 57 seats in the recently concluded Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, the Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) led by ‘Son of Mallah’ Mukesh Sahani will once again challenge the national party in the Bochaha Assembly bypoll in north Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district, scheduled to be held on April 12 and the result for which will be announced on April 16.

The VIP, though, failed to win a single seat in the U.P. Assembly election.

Along with the JD(U) and the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular), the VIP is ruling alliance partner of the BJP in Bihar. The Bochaha seat fell vacant after the death of VIP MLA Musafir Paswan in November 2021.

Earlier, the VIP had named Amar Paswan, son of the late Musafir Paswan, as party candidate in Bochaha, but he switched over to the Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal and announced that he would contest the bypoll on RJD ticket.

Stung by Mr. Paswan’s sudden move, the VIP later announced Geeta Devi, daughter of nine-time MLA from Bochaha Ramai Ram, as the party candidate. The BJP has already announced Baby Kumari as its candidate.

Ms. Kumari won the seat in the 2015 Assembly poll as an Independent but later joined the BJP. Under the NDA alliance, the Bochaha seat had gone to the VIP in the 2020 Assembly poll and Mr. Musafir Paswan won the poll.

The VIP had won four seats in the 243-seat Assembly and supported the NDA to form the government in Bihar. The party currently has three MLAs, and the magic figure required to form government in the State is 122. Mr. Sahani is Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Minister in the NDA government in Bihar.

By bagging the Bochaha seat, the BJP, with 74 MLAs, now wants to equal the number of seats of the RJD (75). The JD(U) had won 43 seats in the last poll. The NDA had formed the government with the support of 125 MLAs.

“This will be the first occasion when an NDA constituent is contesting against an NDA candidate in the Bochaha bypoll. Though the RJD too has decided to field Amar Paswan to get electoral benefit out of squabbling among NDA constituents, the fate of the Mukesh Sahani-led VIP will be interesting to watch after the bypoll,” political analyst Ajay Kumar told The Hindu.

Meanwhile, the other ruling NDA constituent, the JD(U), said the BJP should have taken the VIP into confidence on contesting the Bochaha bypoll. “Dissidents in the family should not be allowed to quit. I would opt to mediate between the two constituents of the NDA if the situation so deemed,” said JD(U) parliamentary board chairman Upendra Kushwaha.

Mr. Sahani had a meeting with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and JD(U) president Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh on March 20 before he flew to New Delhi. He returned to Patna on March 21.

“If the VIP wins the bypoll, its support would be key for the NDA government’s survival in Bihar,” observed Mr. Kumar.

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Printable version | Jun 12, 2022 3:53:45 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bihar-bypoll-vip-to-pit-candidate-against-ally-bjp-in-bochaha/article65248131.ece