Straight contests in Bihar first phase polling
With the first phase of polling to elect the 14th Lok Sabha barely three days away, battle lines have been drawn for a straight contest between the RJD-led secular alliance and the NDA in all the 11 Lok Sabha constituencies going to poll in Bihar on April 20.
The 11 constituencies--Patna, Barh, Nalanda, Ara, Buxar, Sasaram, Bikramganj, Aurangabad, Jehanabad, Nawada and Gaya--are located in central Bihar having ominous presence of the banned Naxalite organisations, the MCC and the People's War, who have given a poll boycott call.
While the JD-U has fielded its candidates in Barh, Nalanda, Jehanabad, Ara, Bikramganj and Aurangabad, its ally BJP is contesting from Patna, Buxar, Sasaram, Gaya and Nawada.
RJD, on the other hand, is contesting from Patna, Barh, Ara, Bikramganj, Buxar, Gaya, Nawada and Jehanabad, while its electoral ally Congress has put up its candidates in Sasaram and Aurangabad. Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) of Ram Vilas Paswan is contesting from Nalanda as part of secular alliance.
Though Railway Minister Nitish Kumar is comfortably placed in Nalanda, where LJP has fielded a political greenhorn Pushpanjay Kumar, he is in a do-or-die battle in Barh with old RJD rival Vijay Krishna. Nitish has represented Barh five times in a row.
Union Small-Scale Industry Minister CP Thakur is seeking a third term from Patna on a BJP ticket in a neck-and-neck fight with RJD nominee Ramkripal Yadav.
Another Union minister Sanjay Paswan is locking horns with RJD nominee Vir Chandra Paswan for the Nawada seat.