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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Assembly bypolls for five seats to test Grand Alliance in Bihar

Bypolls will be held on five assembly seats in Bihar which have fallen vacant after the MLAs representing them were elected as Members of Parliament in Lok Sabha elections earlier this year.

patna Updated: Aug 26, 2019 14:18 IST
Subhash Pathak
Subhash Pathak
Hindustan Times, Patna
(From L to R): Leaders of the Grand Alliance - Jitan Ram Manjhi, Tejashwi Yadav, Shaktisinh Gohil, Ahmed Patel and Upendra Kushwaha  - during a press conference at All India Congress Committee office (AICC), in New Delhi.
(From L to R): Leaders of the Grand Alliance - Jitan Ram Manjhi, Tejashwi Yadav, Shaktisinh Gohil, Ahmed Patel and Upendra Kushwaha - during a press conference at All India Congress Committee office (AICC), in New Delhi. (Amal KS / HT File Photo )
         

The coalition between the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)—constituents of the Grand Alliance (GA)—will be put to test in the forthcoming bypolls for the five assembly seats in Bihar, likely to be held by November end.

The assembly seats - Kishanganj, Nathnagar, Belhar, Simri Bakhtiarpur and Daraundha - fell vacant after the leaders who earlier represented them, were elected as Members of Parliament (MPs) in the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year.

Congress MLA and All India Congress Committee (AICC) media panelist Prem Chandra Mishra had already said that the GA, comprising RJD, Upendra Kushwaha-led RLSP, Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) and Mukesh Sahni-led Vikassheel Insan Party (VIP), has outlived its utility after the LS polls. “The Congress president will take a call on whether to continue with the same arrangement or just walk out,” said Mishra.

Mohammad Jawaid, Congress MLA from Kishanganj, was the only GA contestant to get elected to Lok Sabha. Ajay Kumar Mandal (Nathnagar), Giridhari Yadav (Belhar), Dinesh Chandra Yadav (Simri Bakhtiarpur) and Kavita Devi (Daraundha) are among the JD(U) MLAs who became the MPs after the Lok Sabha polls in April-May this year.

Chairman of the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) campaign committee Akhilesh Prasad Singh claimed that the Congress was eyeing at least two-three seats to contest the by-elections. “Apart from Kishanganj, the party is gearing up to fight Nathnagar in Bhagalpur, which was last won by the party in 1980. RJD never won from Nathnagar,” said Singh, adding that the party also finds good prospect in Simiri Bakhtiarpur.

At a meeting of the Congress legislature party during the just concluded monsoon session of the state assembly, Congress leaders had strongly advocated contesting the elections on their own, particularly after the humiliating defeat the GA suffered at the hands of NDA in the Lok Sabha polls.

“People are deeply angered and frustrated with the NDA government in the state on various fronts like law and order, health, agriculture and general development. They are resorting to violence at the slightest provocations and taking law into their hands,” said senior Congress leader Kishore Kumar Jha.

Senior RJD leader Bhola Prasad said that the GA was still continuing.

“Congress has a bona fide claim on Kishanganj, while the rest four seats should be left on RJD to decide,” said Yadav.

First Published: Aug 26, 2019 14:18 IST

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