Bihar polls: With Cong’s Luv and debonair debutants, BJP’s Bankipur set for a contest

Located in the heart of Patna, Bankipur has its own issues.
Congress Bankipur candidate and son of Bollywood actor Shatrughan Sinha, Luv Sinha.(Santosh Kumar/ Hindustan Times)
Congress Bankipur candidate and son of Bollywood actor Shatrughan Sinha, Luv Sinha.(Santosh Kumar/ Hindustan Times)
Updated on Oct 31, 2020 01:19 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Patna | ByRuchir Kumar | Edited by Sparshita Saxena

Patna’s Bankipur assembly constituency, comprising 3.91 lakh voters, is set for an interesting contest. BJP’s Nitin Nabin (40), who is seeking his fourth successive win as a legislator here, is pitted against Congress’s Luv Sinha (39), son of actor and former Union minister Shatrughan Sinha who quit BJP last year and joined Congress.

Luv Sinha is fighting his first election. So is Pushpam Priya (33), an alumnus of London School of Economics (LSE) who has floated The Plurals Party, a newly formed entity. Also in the race is Manish Barriarr (44), an Oxford University alumnus and academician. He is contesting as an Independent candidate. Altogether, there are 22 candidates in the fray from Bankipur constituency, which goes to polls on November 3.

Located in the heart of Patna, Bankipur has its own issues. Traffic snarl-ups, water-logging, lack of infrastructure and civic amenities like public hygiene and sanitation, drainage, streetlight, encroachment of public property, illegal slums, poor public transportation, lack of auto-rickshaw and city bus stops, are the pressing ones.

The incomplete Mithapur flyover, open drain in Mandiri and Bakerganj, delay in execution of projects under Smart City, the Namami Gange and the laying of gas pipeline because of which roads have been dug up, are the broader issues people want the government to address on priority.

The youth on Ashok Rajpath, which has several private hostels for students, want better education and employment avenues.

“There’s traffic mayhem on SP Verma Road, Fraser Road, Exhibition Road. The roads are poorly lit with either no streetlights or just a few of them. Public hygiene is poor, with garbage littered on flanks of roads and footpath, hardly leaving any space for commuters,” said Sadanand Agarwal, 51, a businessman, who resides on SP Verma Road.

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It’s all about water-logging, encroachment and illegal slums near the Buddha Murti in Kadamkuan.

“Encroachment, leading to illegal slums, with urchins creating nuisance, is a worry in our area, especially around the Buddha Murti which should ideally have been taken up as a national heritage and converted into a tourist spot. Our area, which is low-lying, is perennially waterlogged during monsoon. The government should do something to improve its drainage and promptly address other issues as well,” said Dr Abhishek Kumar Sinha, 40, a resident of Justice Raj Kishore Path near Buddha Murti in Kadamkuan.

Manish Kumar, 21, a student of Patna University on Ashok Rajpath, talked about the need for employment avenues.

“Unemployment is the main reason for the migration of youth. Besides, higher education also needs to be improved,” he said.

Ghanshyam Agarwal, 48, a resident of Mainpura, talked about the lack of parking facility in his area, animal shelter house, leading to cattle and stray dogs roaming freely on road, also the increasing incidence of dog bite, incomplete work on covering the Mandiri drain, besides encroachment and open manholes.

“The government should also improve the crematorium at Bans Ghat and Gulbi ghat and not allow vendors by the roadside,” said Agarwal.

However, Rashmi Kumar, 60, a school teacher, and resident of Maa Bhagwati Apartment on the Boring-Canal Road, had a different take. “I will vote for a leader who helps in strengthening the political leadership of our country. I prefer a seasoned political leadership over the youth. The government has done good work and will do better if we give it more time,” she said.

“Our choice (of political leader) is not an issue, but party-based. I will vote for a strong and self-reliant India,” she said.

The Bankipur seat, which came into existence after the delimitation of constituencies in 2008, has been a BJP stronghold.

Nitin Nabin’s father, late Navin Kishore Prasad Sinha, won the 1995, 2000 and 2005 assembly elections from the Patna West seat, most areas of which now come under the Bankipur assembly constituency.

In 2006, following his father’s death, Nabin won the Patna West seat in 2006 (by-election), and then Bankipur in 2010 and 2015 assembly elections.

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Congress candidate Luv Sinha talks of the lack of development in Bihar. “Bihar is still the least developed for the last 27 years in terms of people living below poverty line, infrastructure, healthcare and education. People here also have less opportunity. I am here to bring about a change in Bihar,” said Sinha.

“My priorities will be to improve education, work on industrialisation because they go side-by-side to increase employability. I will also work on town planning because Patna is quite unlike a state capital. It has no concept of town planning, which needs to be developed,” said Manish Barriarr.

BJP candidate Nitin Nabin, on the other hand, countered allegations of slow pace of development work.

“As for the Mithapur overbridge, there were some design issues, which the railways had objected to. It has now cleared the design and the work will be complete in the next three months. The 65-crore project on covering the Mandiri drain was stopped at the order of the high court. After its clearance now, the work will recommence soon,” said Nabin.

“We have also worked on the sump house and drainage to end waterlogging in wards 15 to 19 of Chirayantand, Chandmari Road and Khasmahal localities, besides the Congress Maidan in Kadamkuan. As many as 15,000 LED streetlights have been installed in the last three years and a 3.5 crore foot-over bridge is coming up between Mithapur and R-Block. We have been striving for development and will continue to do so in the coming years,” he said.

Efforts to reach out to Pushpam Priya proved futile, as she was unavailable over phone.

182 - Bankipur assembly constituency

Total voters: 3,91,100

Male voters: 208299

Female voters: 182772

Transgender: 29

Polling booths: 589

Total candidates: 22

In fray: Nitin Nabin (BJP), Luv Sinha (Cong), Pushpam Priya (The Plurals Party)

2015 polls

Winner: Nitin Nabin (BJP); Votes polled: 86,759

Runner-up: Kumar Ashish (Cong); Votes polled: 46,992

Winning margin: 39,767

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Thursday, December 09, 2021