The Grand Alliance announced its ‘joint’ list of 242 candidates yesterday giving the maximum seats to OBCs. Only the Rajgir (SC) seat will be announced later. 55% of the seats have gone to OBCs, 15% to SC/STs, 14% to Muslims and 16% to the General category.
A close look of the seat break-up shows a three-pronged strategy to capitalise on each party’s advantage. Nitish Kumar has concentrated on consolidating the Kurmi votes, which is his community, while JD(U) has focused its attention on the Kushwaha community, leaving RJD to concentrate on consolidating its hold on Muslim and Yadav communities, which have traditionally been its strength. The General category has been left to Congress.
Unfortunately, the seat break-up reveals only 10% seats have been allocated to women. While, CM Nitish Kumar made the announcement that all communities were well represented, he has missed the opportunity to capitalise on his largest support base. If he could have allocated a larger share of seats to women, within each of his ‘caste/community’ share categories, the Grand Alliance would have had a distinct edge over the NDA, since women comprise almost 50% of voters in Bihar. Given his strong goodwill amongst women voters, this was his chance to make a statement of support that would have seen him emerge as a leader of higher stature, with appeal beyond Bihar.
Nitish Kumar used the occasion to launch a blistering attack on the BJP saying that it was the political arm of RSS and that RSS was its Supreme Court, in a reference to Mohan Bhagwat’s recent statement on reservation.
JD(U) and RJD are contesting 101 seats each, while Congress is contesting from 41 seats.
BJP lines up star campaigners to hit the road with ‘Badaliye Sarkar, Badaliye Bihar’ slogan
BJP is all set to hit the road in full strength with the new slogan ‘Badaliye Sarkar, Badaliye Bihar’, and has drawn up 40 star campaigners led by PM Modi, in a list submitted to the Election Commission. The list includes the CM of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Raghubar Das, CM of Jharkhand. Other party leaders included are Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, FM Arun Jaitley, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Ananth Kumar, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Giriraj Singh, and Dharmendra Pradhan.
To mollify the sulking segment within the party, senior leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi along with Shatrughan Sinha have also been included. Other popular crowd pullers include Hema Malini and Navjyot Singh Sidhu. Several rallies are planned across the state and the party will be relying heavily on PM Modi’s appeal to give their campaign the edge in winning voter mindshare.
Can Lalu’s sons achieve where his wife and daughter failed?
Lalu Prasad Yadav is banking on his two sons to continue the family’s legacy in politics and is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that his sons contest and win from ‘safe’ seats. He pressured Nitish Kumar into vacating two seats, Mahua and Raghopur in Vaishali district, known to be Yadav strongholds and held by JD(U) since 2010. Elder son Tej Pratap Yadav will contest from Mahua and Tejashwi Yadav will fight from Raghopur.
But it won’t be a cakewalk as the sitting MLA from Mahua, Ravindra Rai, has switched allegiance to Jitan Manjhi’s HAM and will be fighting from the same constituency. On the other hand, Satish Kumar, who is the sitting MLA from Raghopur, has joined BJP and will be contesting from the same seat on a BJP ticket. Satish Kumar happens to be the same person who defeated Lalu’s wife Rabri Devi in 2010. Being newbies, Lalu’s sons will certainly not find the going easy, as both the other leaders are strong in their respective constituencies.
Rahul Gandhi’s trip to US during campaign period continues to baffle
It is indeed surprising to see Rahul Gandhi go to the US at a time when he should have been actively campaigning for the Grand Alliance and his party’s ticket holders in Bihar. As per Congress party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, Rahul Gandhi had left for the US to attend the ‘Charlie Rose Conference’. The conference is apparently a gathering of thought leaders from various walks of life.
Now, how does Rahul Gandhi find this conference to be a priority over the elections in Bihar, where his party has been reduced to a mere side show and is struggling to fight an existential battle? One can understand PM Modi going to Ireland, on way to the US, where India is fighting an important diplomatic battle to get a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, but what made Rahul Gandhi leave the campaign trail to head for the US at this time, remains an enigma.
Politician in focus: Veena Devi, LJP (Born 5 Nov 1976)
Veena Devi was born in Dularpur, Begusarai in Bihar to Uma Kant Singh and Saraswati Devi. She pursued her education till matric level and later married Surajbhan Singh, who was earlier the JD(U) MP from Balia in the 14th Lok Sabha. In 2014, she stood from Munger on a LJP ticket and in alliance with the BJP won the seat after defeating Lalan Singh, the JD(U) strongman from Munger.
She has since served as Member on several committees including Committee on Papers laid on the Table, Chemicals and Fertilizers, Consultative Committee, and Petroleum and Natural Gas.
Constituency in focus: Nawada
Nawada town is a municipality and headquarters of Nawada district, and is part of Magadh region. Nawada is divided into 33 wards. During the 1857 mutiny Nawada was ravaged and several parts of the city areas were destroyed. As per Census 2011, the population of Nawada district is 257,305, of which 134,416 are males and 122,889 are females.
2010 Assembly Election Results
• Winner in 2010 Assembly Poll: Pumima Yadav, JD(U)
• Margin of win: 6,337 votes; 5.32% of total valid votes
• Runner-up: Rajballabh Prasad, RJD
• Male voters: 64,229; Female voters: 54,778; Total: 119,019
• Polling %: 45.22
• Male Candidates who contested: 13; Female Candidates: 3
• Polling stations: 279
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