Trust the gods to fancy mortal combat in Bihar’s ballot battlefield.
Many of the candidates fielded by various parties are named after popular gods of the Hindu pantheon. They are fighting each other.
Going by the names, two dark-skinned avatars of Lord Vishnu – Ram and Shyam – are leading the list. Not far behind are members of their mythological families.
Take the case of JD(U). Its candidates for Katihar and Hajipur seats are Ram Prakash Mahto and Ram Sundar Das.
For a party that pursued the Ram temple in Ayodhya, one would have expected the BJP to have a few godly contestants. But it has just two, one being Ram Kripal Yadav, an import from the Lalu Prasad-led RJD. Yadav is BJP’s candidate from the Pataliputra seat.
The other is a lady, parliamentarian Rama Devi who has been re-nominated from Sheohar in north Bihar. Sheohar literally means abode of Shiva. In the fray too is BJP’s Shatrughan Sinha, named after one of Ram’s younger brothers.
The most prominent of the Rams is Ram Vilas Paswan, whose LJP is a BJP ally. The two other ‘Ravan slayers’ in his party are Vaishali nominee Ram Kishore Singh and Samastipur candidate Ram Chandra Paswan.
The irony was not lost on Lalu Prasad, Paswan’s main rival. “LJP has truly turned saffron,” he said.
But RJD is not without its ‘gods’. The party’s West Champaran candidate Raghunath Jha is Ram by another name while Sitamarhi candidate Sitaram Yadav’s name includes that of Ram’s consort.
Not too far behind is the flautist god and those associated with him. One of them is Krishna Kumari Yadav, RJD candidate from Khagaria. Another is BJP’s Radha Mohan Singh (East Champaran), named after Shyam’s celebrated partner.