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Four union ministers in ring, NDA fights to keep its seats

All eight seats were won by the National Democratic Alliance in 2014.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 19, 2019 02:12 IST
Vijay Swaroop
Vijay Swaroop
Hindustan Times, Patna
election commission,ECI,bypolls
Ravi Shankar Prasad, the union law minister, is contesting from the Patna Sahib parliamentary constituency.(HTPhoto)

Four union ministers are among the 157 candidates in the fray in eight Lok Sabha seats in Bihar which go to polls in the seventh and final phase on May 19, Sunday.

A total of 1,52,52,608 voters are eligible to cast their votes in the eight seats of Patna Sahib, Pataliputra, Arrah, Buxar, Nalanda, Sasaram, Karakat and Jahanabad.

The four union ministers in the fray are Ravi Shankar Prasad (Patna Sahib), Ram Kripal Yadav (Pataliputra), Ashwani Kumar Choubey (Buxar) and R K Singh (Arrah).

All eight seats were won by the National Democratic Alliance in 2014.

However, in the 2015 assembly polls, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, which fought the polls in alliance with Janata Dal (U) and the Congress, had won 18 of the 48 assembly constituencies falling within these eight Lok Sabha seats.

The BJP and JD(U), which fought the assembly polls as rivals but later formed an alliance, had together won 26 seats.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, the union law minister, is contesting from the Patna Sahib parliamentary constituency and is pitted against former BJP leader and sitting MP Shatrughan Sinha, who is contesting on a Congress ticket this time. Sinha has represented the seat twice since 2009.

Prasad is contesting a Lok Sabha election for the first time but has been a Rajya Sabha member since 2012.

Another keen contest has built up in Pataliputra, where union minister of state Ram Kripal Yadav is facing a challenge by RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s eldest daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Misa Bharti. Yadav, a former protege of Lalu Prasad, had quit RJD and joined BJP just before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, which he fought on a BJP ticket from Pataliputra and defeated Misa Bharti.

In Buxar, sitting MP Ashwini Kumar Choubey is again pitted against RJD’s Jagadanand Singh.

In Arrah, bureaucrat-turned-politician R K Singh, who is seeking a second term as MP, will be facing off Raju Yadav of CPI(ML), which has a strong hold in the region.

In chief minister Nitish Kumar’s home district Nalanda, his party’s sitting MP Kaushalendra Kumar is up against Ashok Kumar Azad of Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular). Kaushalendra Kumar has represented the seat since 2009.

Rashtriya Lok Samta Party chief and former union minister Upendra Kushwaha, who walked out of NDA just a few months back, is seeking re-election from Karakat, faced with a challenge from Mahabali Singh of JD(U). Kushwaha had attacked Nitish Kumar on several occasions when he was a union minister. This has made Karakat a prestige battle.

Former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, daughter of late Jagjiwan Ram, is in the fray as the Congress candidate from Sasaram, a seat which she lost in 2014 to Chedi Paswan of BJP. She is pitted against Paswan once again.

First Published: May 19, 2019 02:12 IST

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