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In Buxar, rebels may trip official candidates

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Buxar (Bihar): The Puranas describe Buxar as the battlefield of gods and demons. Politically speaking, ‘gods’ and ‘demons’ will fight it out here in the Bihar assembly elections too.

The battle of Buxar district has turned out to be more than interesting as the official candidates of both the NDA and the Grand Alliance face stiff opposition from rebels in three of the four constituencies.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded candidates from Buxar, Rajpur and Brahmpur, leaving Dumraon constituency for Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP).

On the other side, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) is contesting from Rajpur and Dumraon, the Congress from Buxar and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) from Brahmpur.

In 2010, the BJP won from Buxar and Brahmpur and the JD-U from Dumraon and Rajpur. They were allies then.

This time, the BJP denied ticket to both outgoing legislators, Sukhada Pandey (Buxar) and Dilmani Devi (Brahmpur).

The JD-U also denied ticket to incumbent legislator Daud Ali (Dumraon) and fielded former legislator Dadan Yadav. However, it reposed its faith in Rajpur victor Santosh Kumar Nirala.

The Congress candidate from Buxar and RJD’s from Brahmpur are both first timers.

Buxar has 29 candidates but the main fighters are BJP’s Pradip Dubey, 44, and Congress’ Sanjay Kumar Tiwari alias Munna Tiwari, 47, son of former union minister and Congress leader K.K. Tiwari.

Supporters of former minister and three-term BJP legislators Sukhda Pandey are angry after she was sidelined. They are sure to trip the BJP.

The Bahujan Samaj Party’s Saroj Kumar Rajbhar, 30, and Ashok Yadav, a JD-U rebel, are also in the fray. And Yadav, now an independent, could hurt the JD-U.

In Brahmpur, the NDA and Grand Alliance are in trouble. BJP’s Vivek Thakur, 45, son of former union minister C.P. Thakur, has an enemy in outgoing BJP legislator Dilmani Devi, who joined the JD-U after she was not re-nominated. She is now campaigning for RJD’s Shambhu Yadav.

The RJD is in a mess too. It denied ticket to four-time former legislator Ajeet Choudhry, 61, who is now a BSP candidate.

In Dumraon, BJP ally RLSP has fielded Ram Bihari Singh, who lost two elections. He is pitted against three-time legislator Dadan Yadav, who has won once as an independent and again on Samajwadi Party ticket.

Dadan Yadav too faces rebellion. Outgoing JD-U legislator Daud Ali, after being denied ticket, is now the candidate of Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party, giving sleepless nights to Dadan Yadav.

In Rajpur, the only reserve constituency, there seems to be a straight clash between BJP’s first timer Vishwanath Ram and JD-U’s 2010 winner Santosh Kumar Nirala.

Ram is a nephew of former BJP legislator Ram Narayan Ram. The Samajwadi Party and the BSP are also in the fray, the former fielding ex-legislator Chedi Lal Ram.

“Rebels have made the fight triangular in at least three seats in Buxar. Only Rajpur will see a direct fight between the BJP-led NDA and the Grand Alliance. So, rebels could spoil the chances of the official candidates,” Alok Kumar, a long-time Buxar resident, told IANS.

Munna Singh of Nawanagar doesn’t agree.

“There are lots of issues in Buxar. People who live on the banks of the Gange drink water contaminated with arsenic. There is hardly any water in canals. People are dependant on boring water. Unfortunately, no one talks about these issues,” he moaned.

“This election is being fought on caste lines,” he added.

Buxar will also witness an internecine Left war. Although the Communists have joined hands across Bihar, both Bhagwati Prasad of the CPI and Dhirendra Choudhry of the CPI-M are in the fray.

(Brajendra Nath Singh, IANS )

 

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Why JDU & BJP Coalition Will Remain Intact

JDU knows that this 15-16% votes is not enough to help the party and for the BJP too, only the 17% votes of upper castes are not sufficient

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Nitish Kumar with Narendra Modi.
Nitish Kumar with Narendra Modi.

By Sagarneel Sinha

There have been lots of discussions among the political circles that JDU led by Bihar Chief
Minister Nitish Kumar is upset with the BJP and trying to send signals to erst allies — RJD and the Congress. This led to speculations that Nitish may once again join the Grand Alliance (GA) leaving the NDA camp. Already, RJD’s new commander Tejasvi Yadav has clearly stated that Nitish led JDU will not be welcomed in the GA. Despite all the odds, if (suppose) GA partners accommodate Nitish, he wouldn’t be the driving force of the alliance as in 2015. Also, Nitish cannot afford to go alone like in 2014 when his party fetched only 2 seats!

Then which is the correct way for JDU? It is to go with the BJP in the upcoming 2019 polls.
JDU’s advantage in this case is the present situation of the BJP. Currently, the saffron party is not in a strong position as the party would be facing anti-incumbency from a strong RJD led alliance in the state. BJP’s traditional voters are the upper castes who account for 17% of the electorate. This votebank is not enough for the party to help to win elections. The main opposition party — RJD still commands over a larger votebank than BJP. RJD is still a dominant force among the Yadavs and the Muslims who account for 31% of the population. It means BJP has to minus the 31% votes and rely on the rest — 69%. Out of these, 16% are the Mahadalits — a large portion of whom generally hail Nitish Kumar as their leader. Also, there are Kurmis, an OBC group consisting of 4% votes — considered as the supporters of JDU. Nitish Kumar himself is also a Kurmi.

Nitish Kumar Invited to Join NDA by Amit Shah After JDU-BJP Tie-up in Bihar
Nitish Kumar Invited to Join NDA by Amit Shah After JDU-BJP Tie-up in Bihar.

JDU knows that this 15-16% votes is not enough to help the party and for the BJP too, only the 17% votes of upper castes are not sufficient. However, if these votebanks are joined together they form around 31-32%. Plus, to gain the extra votes, both the parties have the option to rely on the personal charisma of Nitish Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, there is a power tussle between the two allies to get a respectable share of seats.

This power tussle is because of a strong BJP which earlier used to be a junior ally. The 2014 Lok Sabha elections changed the political scenario of the state where BJP emerged as the largest party in terms of vote share and seats. JDU knows the reality of a new emerging BJP, though it is pushing hard to gain a respectable share of seats for the Lok Sabha elections. Instead, Nitish Kumar has another option — giving the bigger chunk to the BJP for the Lok Sabha elections and the latter playing the junior partner for the 2020 assembly elections if held timely. Given the current situation in the country, in a crucial state like Bihar, BJP can hardly reject JDU as the later still commands over 15-16% votes — a very crucial votebank for winning maximum seats in the 2019 polls. Importance of JDU can also be explained by BJP president Amit Shah’s visit to Patna to have breakfast and dinner with Nitish Kumar. Though in politics there are no permanent friends or foes, so any perfect prediction is impossible. But given the current situation, JDU and BJP parting their ways seems unlikely as both the parties are in need of each other as already highlighted by Amit Shah that the two allies would fight the Lok Sabha elections together. Smiling face of Nitish Kumar was also an indication that the meetings with Amit Shah were fine.