Election Commission shall be accepting nominations today from candidates standing for the first phase of elections in the Bihar Assembly polls.
BJP announces its first list of 43 candidates
BJP yesterday released the first list of 43 candidates for the Assembly polls. Of these, 19 candidates shall contest the first phase of elections starting 12 October, 15 candidates shall contest in the second phase, while 9 shall contest during the remaining phases.
Controversy on seat vs constituency
In the initial two phases, around 81 seats will be contested, of which 25 seats will be fought by BJP’s alliance partners. But all is not well in the BJP camp which is trying to portray a united front. Yesterday, Chirag Paswan, LJP leader and Ram Vilas Paswan’s son, spoke to the media expressing surprise and disappointment over the seat sharing formula and said that the final numbers did not match what was agreed upon. This was contrary to the smiles and joint photo ops presented by Amit Shah and his allies when the seat sharing numbers were announced.
In another sign of disenchantment, RLSP leader Fazal Islam Mallik has objected to the release of the names of 43 candidates by the BJP saying it was against the coalition dharma. He spoke about the numbers agreed upon and not on specific constituency allocation that was yet to be decided. RLSP leader Upendra Kushwaha represents the Koeri community, a backward class and a critical vote bank.
Although, all three partners in the NDA alliance have voiced their unhappiness over seat sharing, and now constituency allocation, BJP has made it clear that it will have the final say. Amit Shah played tactfully in delaying the seat sharing formula and its list of candidates, to avoid any dissent and today’s nomination filing will all but seal the deal on how the alliance will move forward.
Shiv Sena may queer the pitch for BJP
In a surprise move, Shiv Sena announced that it was considering contesting independently in more than 100 seats and that Anil Desai, Rajya Sabha MP would be made in charge of the Bihar polls. So what made Shiv Sena take a belated decision to contest the Bihar polls and that too independently? Shiv Sena realises that it does not have much of a chance but can put up nuisance value to BJP’s chances in Bihar.
This, however, is not the first foray for Shiv Sena in Bihar. In 2004, the party contested the General Elections but managed to secure just 23,000 votes representing an approximate 0.1% share of the votes. During the 2014 General elections, Shiv Sena garnered a decent 1.5 lakh shares, representing around 0.4% vote share. Therefore, if it contests in more than 100 seats in Bihar, there is likelihood that it will exceed all its earlier performances in Bihar. The reason for going into Bihar albeit at the last minute, is aimed more at BJP, keeping in mind politics back home in Maharashtra, where it is trying to build its own voice and identity, independent of the BJP. The recent stand taken against the meat ban was on the same lines and objective.
Testing times for the Election Commission
This election is going to be different from all previous elections in Bihar. With central paramilitary forces guarding each polling station for the first time, there will be little scope for violence or any tampering of votes at the polling station level. With the Model Code of Conduct in force, the EC office has been busy enforcing road checks and stepping raids on suspect locations across the state and the results have started to show.
Additional Chief Election Officer, R Lakshmanan informed the media that Rs 1.38 crore in unaccounted cash was seized from a car in Gaya district. Another Rs 13 lakh was seized in Patna, Rs 6 lakh in Vaishali, Rs 2.90 lakh from Nalanda district, Rs 2.70 lakh in Bhojpur area and Rs 1.40 lakh in Madhuban.
He also informed that 100 kgs of marijuana was seized from Khagaria district, besides 10,386 liters of liquor from various parts of the state. To prevent defacement of public and private property, several cases have been registered, in addition to cases pertaining to misuse of official vehicles involving use of flag and beacon lights.
Politician in focus: Chirag Paswan (Born 31 October 1982)
Chirag Paswan is better known as LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan’s son. His initial professional interest was Fashion Designing and having good looks, was soon drawn towards the film industry. In 2011, he acted in Tanveer Khan’s Miley Naa Miley Hum, a romantic drama involving three actresses, Kangana Ranaut, Sagarika Ghatge and Neeru Bajwa. But the film failed to get a positive response at the Box Office and that pretty much ended Chirag Paswan’s film career.
Given his family’s political background, foraying into politics was a natural extension. He therefore contested the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 from Jamui, where he defeated Sudhanshu Shekhar Bhaskar of RJD by 85,000 votes. Like several second generation sons of politicians taking over their parent’s legacy, Chirag Paswan will be a name to watch out for, in coming years.
Constituency in focus: Sheohar
Sheohar is a district headquarters that was carved out of Sitamarhi district in 1994. The river Bagmati flows through the area and the main activity is agriculture. Sheohar is spread across 443 sq kms and as per 2011 Census, has a total population of 656,246, of which males are 346,673 and females 309,573.
Unfortunately, Sheohar has had little development and is listed as one of 250 most backward districts in the country and receives funds under the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF).
2010 Assembly Election Results
• Winning candidate: Sharfuddin, JD(U)
• Total votes received: 40,447
• Margin of victory: 1631 votes (1.36% of total votes)
• Runners-up: Pratima Devi, BSP
• Total number of male candidates: 14 ; Female candidates: 1
• Total number of voters: 119,899 ; Male voters: 60,255 ; Female voters: 59,644
• Polling percentage: 51.97
• Polling stations: 233
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