Caste is deeply entrenched in Bihar politics, often surpassing all other issues and BJP realises this. The Yadav community represents almost 14% of the population, which has traditionally been a RJD-JD(U) stronghold and BJP is determined to beat the Nitish-Lalu combine by splitting the Yadav vote. Towards this, BJP yesterday released its third list that included three more Yadav candidates, taking the total to 22, a first for the party. The three candidates are Ramsundar Yadav contesting from Phulparas, Phula Devi Yadav from Govindpur and Birendra Gope from Islampur. With this, Amit Shah of BJP has thrown open the challenge and made the elections even more interesting, as now all eyes will be on these 22 candidates to see how they fare.
What is AIMIM’s game plan?
When Asaduddin Owaisi of AIMIM decided to step into the complex world of Bihar politics, against all advice from various members of the Muslim community and other secular elements, several analysts began questioning his game plan. What made him step into Bihar and what does he really stand to gain? There is speculation amongst some political analysts that he is a part of BJP’s two-pronged strategy to weaken the Grand Alliance. While BJP is fielding 22 Yadav candidates to break the Yadav votes, Owaisi has been drawn up to break the RJD-JD(U) hold on the Muslim vote bank. BJP has already announced that it has given the ticket to Abdul Rahman to contest from Kochadhaman constituency in an attempt to seem inclusive. The other Muslim candidate announced earlier was Saba Zafar from Amour in the Purnia district.
It may be noted that Yadav and Muslim communities together form almost 30% of the total votes, so any break in this equation can favour BJP. In return, Owaisi must have negotiated for a better deal for his party back home, where his real interest lies. Owaisi also realises that any gains here will strengthen his party to seek entry into other states.
Agitation in Nepal against the new constitution may have an impact on Bihar polls
Street agitation and violence followed Nepalese Parliament adopting the new Constitution that leaves out federal aspirations of other communities living in the Terai region of Nepal. Given that Bihar borders Nepal with transit points in several locations, there is a sizeable section of people who have relations and business interests on both sides of the border and therefore, any agitation in Nepal is bound to have an impact on Bihar and the forthcoming elections. The announcement couldn’t have come at a worse time, with elections around the corner.
Jitan Manjhi to take on Uday Narayan Chaudhary at Imamganj in Gaya
Jitan Manjhi of HAM has an old grudge against Uday Narayan Chaudhary of JD(U) and has decided to take him on by getting the BJP to allot Imamganj as Manjhi’s second seat. Manjhi has been upset with Chaudhary who as the Speaker was responsible for banning his MLAs during the power struggle between him and Nitish Kumar, earlier this year. The battle between the two becomes even more interesting since Manjhi is a Musahar, while Chaudhary is a Passi. Both claim to be true representative of the Mahadalits. The fight won’t be easy for Manjhi as Chaudhary is a six-term MLA from the same constituency and has done a lot of work there.
Politician in focus: Mohammed Taslimuddin, RJD (Born 4 January 1943)
Mohammead Taslimuddin is the sitting MP from Araria and has been in active politics for over five decades. Starting off at the Panchayat level, Taslimuddin has worked at all levels and has a wide support base across the Seemanchal region, which has a large Muslim population.
As is common in Bihar politics, he too has been with several parties and is much sought after by all political parties. He has been elected as MLA seven times and has served as the Member of Parliament five times. His influence spreads across Araria, Purnea, Kishanganj and Katihar. Representing RJD in 1998 Lok Sabha polls, he defeated BJP’s Shanawaz Hussain. However, he lost to Shanawaz Hussain only to win back the 2004 Lok Sabha seat. Such is his stronghold in the area that despite the Modi wave sweeping all parts of India including Bihar, he defeated BJP’s sitting MP from Araria. He has served as the Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Affairs.
Constituency in focus: Purnia
2010 Assembly Election Results
- Winner in 2010 Assembly Poll: Raj Kishore Keshari, BJP
- Margin of win: 15,599; 11.83% of total votes
- Runners-up: Ram Charitra Yadav, INC
- Male voters: 73,738; Female voters: 58,037; Total: 131,847
- Polling %: 60.86
- Male candidates who contested: 13; Female candidates: 0
- Polling stations: 228
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