Bihar Elections: Third Front formed to take on NDA and Grand Alliance

Bihar Elections: Third Front formed to take on NDA and Grand Alliance

Bihar Elections: Third Front formed to take on NDA and Grand Alliance In a Press Conference held yesterday, Samajwadi Party took the lead in announcing the formation of the ‘Third Front’ to fight the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections, starting 12 October. Addressing the Press, Samajwadi Party’s General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav announced that SP would fight the elections in alliance with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), former Union Minister-led Devendra Prasad Yadav’s Samajwadi Janata Dal-Democratic (SJDD) and P.A. Sangma-led National People’s Party (NPP). The SP also announced the arrival of former RJD leader Raghunath Jha into its fold, along with former JD(U) MLC Munna Singh. The four-party ‘Third Front’ is all set to challenge a resurgent NDA – comprising BJP, LJP, RLSP and HAM on one side, and the Grand Alliance (Mahagathbandhan) comprising JD(U)-RJD-Congress on the other, making it a three-way fight. So what is Mulayam Singh’s game plan? Why has he created a Third Front when he could have been part of either alliance? The only possible answer could be that he wants to keep SP safe, with an eye on future U.P elections, just in case the JD(U)–RJD combine fails to deliver. By keeping SP separate, he protects his party while retaining the option of providing outside support to either alliance that wins. With serious criminal charges pending against him, Mulayam Singh Yadav wants to be in a position to negotiate favourable terms with either winner. If NDA wins by a narrow margin or just misses the majority mark, he will be in a position to set tough conditions in exchange for support. The same lies true for the Grand Alliance. In either case, SP could well emerge as a King maker. The polls start on 12 October with 49 Assembly seats to be contested in the first phase.

Congress gearing up to appoint Rahul Gandhi as Party President

While the party focus now is the election in Bihar, sources within Congress say that Rahul Gandhi may be appointed as party President by the year end, irrespective of how the party fares in Bihar elections. There are sections within the Congress who oppose his elevation and want Sonia Gandhi to continue through her extended tenure, however, there is a lot of pressure for others to expedite the process of his elevation in order to allow him time to build his new team, before heading into the next elections. Rahul Gandhi is expected to lead six rallies in Bihar, while four will be lead by party President Sonia Gandhi. Rahul Gandhi is all set to launch his Bihar campaign with a mega rally in Ram Nagar, part of West Champaran on 19 September. The choice of venue is symbolic as Champaran is where Mahatma Gandhi launched his protest movement against Indigo plantation. However, both Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar are likely to avoid the rally, signaling their disapproval of Rahul Gandhi. Lalu Prasad is planning to send his younger son, Tejashwi to represent him, while KC Tyagi of JD(U) will represent Nitish Kumar. Meanwhile, the party’s State unit is set to meet on 20 September to finalise its list of candidates which may be announced on 21 September. The last date for filing nominations for the first phase is 23 September.

Nitish Kumar continues to score in Opinion Poll surveys

Nitish Kumar continues to retain pole position as the favorite for the CM’s post. In the latest ABP News-Nielsen Opinion Poll covering 37 Assembly constituencies, Nitish Kumar emerged as the most popular politician with 52% people favouring him, against 47% in favour of Narendra Modi. For the post of Chief Minister, 88% of the people surveyed, favoured Nitish Kumar, who also got a thumbs up from the Muslim community where the majority seemed to support his candidature. When compared to BJP’s Sushil Modi, 51% favoured Nitish Kumar, while 43% supported Sushil Modi. However, 66% felt that Sushil Modi could present a strong fight to Nitish Kumar. Against Jitan Manjhi, it was a no contest with majority in support of Nitish Kumar. On the issue of Governance, 62% gave a good to very good rating for the overall performance of the government under Nitish Kumar. However, on his personal rating, 52% felt that he performed better when he had BJP’s support. In an interesting feedback, 41% of respondents said that they would extend support to the Grand Alliance, on account of Arvind Kejriwal of AAP extending his support to Nitish Kumar. When asked about AIMIM’s impact on Mahagathbandhan’s poll chances, 49% felt it would have a negative impact, while 41% felt it would help the alliance. The feedback on Nitish Kumar as a popular choice for the CM’s post remains in line with the Opinion Survey conducted earlier by ITG-Cicero.

Politician in focus: Tejashwi Yadav (Born 8 November 1989)

Tejashwi Yadav was born in Patna, to Lalu Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi. The youngest of nine children, Tejashwi went to the prestigious Delhi Public School, Mathura Road and subsequently completed his graduation in Commerce. Being a keen follower of cricket, he took up the sport seriously and played First Class cricket representing Jharkhand. He was also part of the Delhi Daredevils during 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012 editions of IPL. With both parents being popular political figures, it was natural for Tejashwi to enter into politics. He actively supported his father’s campaign during the 2010 Assembly Elections in Bihar and is now set to take up Lalu Prasad’s political legacy. How he fares in the 2015 Assembly elections remains to be seen.

Constituency in focus: Supaul

Supaul town is the district headquarters of Supaul, which was carved out of Saharsa district, on 14 March 1991. Supaul district is spread over 2,410 sq kms and comprises four sub-divisions which include Supaul, Birpur, Nirmali and Triveniganj. As per 2011 Census, the population is 1,745,069. The literacy rate is 37.8%.

2010 Assembly Election Results

• Winner in 2010 Assembly Poll: Bijendra Prasad Yadav • Margin of win: 15,400 votes; 12.69% of total valid votes • Runner-up: Ravindra Kumar Raman • Male voters: 55,928; Female voters: 65,403; Total: 121,377 • Polling %: 55.33% • Male Candidates who contested: 9; Female Candidates: 0 • Polling stations: 236  

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