Bihar: Rebels redraw battle lines in five seats - Hindustan Times
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Bihar: Rebels redraw battle lines in five seats

By, Patna
May 17, 2024 09:24 PM IST

The most keenly watched battle is playing out in Karakat in central Bihar, which votes on June 1 in the last of the ongoing seven-phase parliamentary elections in the country.

Rebels and Independent candidates in the ongoing parliamentary elections have upset all calculations of two main rival political blocs in at least five constituencies in largely bipolar Bihar, which has 40 Lok Sabha seats.

Bhojpuri actor and singer Pawan Singh. (HT)
Bhojpuri actor and singer Pawan Singh. (HT)

The most keenly watched battle is playing out in Karakat in central Bihar, which votes on June 1 in the last of the ongoing seven-phase parliamentary elections in the country.

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Karakat is set for a riveting triangular contest after BJP rebel Pawan Singh, an immensely popular Bhojpuri actor and singer, refused to pull out of the race on Friday, the last day for withdrawing nominations. Earlier, Singh was declared the BJP nominee from Asansol in West Bengal against Trinamool Congress candidate and actor Shartughan Sinha, but he dismissed the offer and filed his nomination from Karakat as an Independent. His mother Pratima Devi, who had also filed her nomination as a “pre-emptive move”, withdrew her candidature on Friday.

Singh will be facing off former union minister and Rashtriya Lok Morcha president Upendra Kushwaha, who is the NDA nominee, and former MLA Rajaram Singh of CPI-ML (Liberation), who is the nominee of the RJD-led opposition alliance Mahagathbandhan.

In 2014, Kushwaha had won the seat as an NDA nominee. However, in 2019, he contested as the Mahagathbandhan candidate and lost to Janata Dal (United) leader Mahabali Singh, who is the sitting MP.

“Entry of Pawan Singh has spelt trouble for Kushwaha, if massive gatherings at his public meetings are anything to go by. Although Pawan Singh hails from the dominant Rajput caste, which forms a sizable chunk of electors in the constituency, he is also drawing support from across castes and communities, particularly from the younger generation,” says Vijay Mishra, a farmer.

Buxar

In Buxar, Anand Mishra, a young IPS officer of Assam cadre who took voluntary retirement allegedly after feelers from BJP that he could be fielded from Buxar, has filed his nomination as Independent. Mishra is said to be getting support from local BJP cadres, who were against the party’s decision to drop sitting MP Ashwini Chaubey. BJP has fielded Mithilesh Tiwari, former MLA from Baikunthpur in Gopalganj district, from Buxar. RJD has fielded former minister Sudhakar Singh, who is the son of party’s state unit president Jagdanand Singh. Buxar votes on June 1.

Purnea

Founder of Jan Adhikar Party (JAP), Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, who merged his outfit with the Congress in March this year, has already queered the electoral pitch in Purnea, where he contested as an Independent. RJD leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav was forced to camp for days in Purnea, which voted on April 26, in favour of his party’s candidate, five-time MLA Bima Bharti. JD(U) nominee is sitting MP Santosh Kushwaha.

Nawada

Former RJD leader Binod Yadav, in the fray as an Independent from Nawada, is similarly made it difficult for RJD candidate Shravan Kumar Kushwaha. Binod is brother of former RJD strongman and MLA Rajballabh Yadav and drawing active support from several legislators in the area. BJP has fielded Rajya Sabha member Vivek Thakur to retain the seat for the saffron party. Nawada votes on June 1.

Valmikinagar

In Valmikinagar, former Congress leader Pravesh Mishra, who had bagged over 3.80 lakh votes in the 2019 parliamentary polls, is contesting as an Independent against his party’s wishes. RJD has fielded Dipak Yadav from the seat, which is presently held by JD(U)’s Sunil Kumar. Polling is due here on May 25.

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