Lok Sabha Elections 2019: In Bihar, fourth phase voting crucial for BJP
The fate of several NDA stalwarts, including union minister Giriraj Singh (BJP), Bihar’s water resource department minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh (JD-U) and BJP state unit president Nityanand Rai is being decided on Monday in the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha elections today. Nearly 87,92,548 voters are exercising their franchise that will decide the fate of 66 candidates.
The fourth phase is of high electoral importance to the BJP, which is contesting the three seats of Darbhanga, Ujiyarpur and Begusarai. BJP allies JD(U) and LJP are contesting from the seats of Munger and Samastipur respectively. In the opposition Grand Alliance, Congress is contesting from Samastipur and Munger, RJD from Begusarai and Darbhanga and RLSP from Ujiyarpur.
The biggest battle of prestige in the fourth phase will be between BJP’s Nityanand Rai and RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha in Ujiyarpur. Kushwaha who was a union minister in the NDA cabinet until last year, quit the alliance citing irrefutable differences and has since become a part of the Grand Alliance. Kushwaha is also contesting from Karakat, from where he is the sitting MP.
The most hyped electoral battle in the fourth phase of elections is undoubtedly the one in Begusarai, where BJP candidate Giriraj Singh is up against former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students’ union leader Kanhaiya Kumar, who is contesting on a Communist Party of India (CPI) ticket.
Begusarai has attracted much attention in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls. Giriraj Singh, who is the sitting MP from Nawada, had earlier expressed his displeasure over being allotted a ticket from Begusarai and had levelled allegations against the state BJP leadership for shifting his constituency. Eyes will also be on Kanhaiya Kumar, who has on several occasions criticised the policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has received support from celebrities like Shabana Azmi, Swara Bhasker and JNU students during his campaign. Though there were talks of Grand Alliance not fielding a candidate from Begusarai early this year, RJD finally decided to field Tanveer Hassan, which makes the contest a triangular one.
Watch | Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Watch out for these big fights in Phase 4
In Darbhanga, Abdul Bari Siddiqui of RJD and BJP’s Gopal Jee Thakur are pitted against each other and caste is expected to play a major factor in the seat. Darbhanga was a major issue of contention within the Grand Alliance, as Congress wanted to field its candidate from the seat. RJD too faced heat from Md Ali Ashraf Fatmi, who fought from Darbhanga on an RJD ticket in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. While RJD finally decided to go with Siddiqui, Fatmi resigned from the party due to him being denied a ticket.