Tuesday June 25, 2019
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In Samastipur’s ‘Moscow’, Left poses a challenge


Bibhutipur: In an otherwise NDA-versus-Grand Alliance battle in Bihar, this is one area where the Left is a formidable force. No wonder, Bibhutipur is known as the ‘Moscow’ of Samastipur.

By all accounts, there is a triangular contest on here, with Ramdeo Verma of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) fighting to get elected to the Bihar assembly for the seventh time.

Verma, 68, has won this seat six times since 1980, except for 1985 and 2010. He is backed by a broader Left coalition.

In 1985, he lost to Congress’ Chandrabali Thakur and in 2010 to Rambalak Singh of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U).

Singh, 44, had contested on a LJP ticket in 2005 and lost to Verma by more than 10,000 votes. But he won five years later.

The Grand Alliance led by the ruling JD-U has again fielded Singh here whereas the LJP’s Ramesh Rai, 42, a brother-in-law of former MP Surajbhan Singh, is the candidate of the BJP-led NDA.

Altogether eight people are in the fray in Bibhutipur, which voted on Monday. All three leading candidates — of the LJP, JD-U and CPI-M — are from the Kushwaha community and graduates.

“After a long time Bibhutipur is witnessing a triangular fight as all three alliances have a good presence in the area,” SK Prasad, a resident and a state government employee, said.

According to him, the NDA was banking on its social equations as well as what it considers to be a Narendra Modi wave 2014.

The CPI-M is relying on its well-knit cadre strength and Kushwaha voter base.

The JD-U is, however, said to be facing anti-incumbency as its outgoing legislator Singh is widely accused of having done nothing in the past five years to develop the constituency.

Like the other two, Singh is also banking on Kushwaha votes as well as Rajputs, Prasad said.

Bibhutipur constituency, home to 2.23 lakh voters, is dominated by Kushwahas, followed by Bhumihars, Rajputs and Yadavas.

“Kushwahas of Bibhutipur vote en masse. And whichever candidate they support, wins. This has been the trend here. Days before polling, they get together at a ‘dal-bhat’ party and decide who to support. This message is conveyed to the community,” journalist Sanjeev Choudhary said.

But this trend has changed since the 2014 Lok Sabha election, he said.

CPI-M’s Verma has been winning this seat primarily because of the support of Kushwahas. He is also known to champion the cause of the weaker sections. But in the last assembly polls, Kushwahas decided to support the JD-U.

“If Kushwaha votes gets divided like last time in the Lok Sabha polls, the NDA might have an edge as they have support of Rajputs and Bhumihars,” added a long-time resident.

(Brajendra Nath Singh, IANS)

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Man visits Bihar from Saudi Arabia to cast his vote


Patna: The Bihar elections have drawn thousands of migrants to visit the state from far and wide to exercise their franchise this time, a trend perhaps not been visible with such an enthusiasm earlier.

Mohammed Atiqur Rahman from Saudi Arabia is one of them.

Rahman said he visited his native village from Saudi Arabia to cast his vote in the first of the five-phased assembly polls on Monday.

A resident of Samastipur district, Rahman said he spent Rs 2 lakh to visit home to vote. He finally voted at polling booth number 154 in Samastipur.

Rahman, who has been working in Saudi Arabia’s capital city of Riyadh for last 15 years as a salesman in a furniture company, said: “I felt it as my duty as well as right to cast my vote after I heard about Bihar polls.”

Around 57 percent of 13.5 million electorate voted in 49 of the 243 constituencies in the first round of battle for political power in Bihar that passed off peacefully on Monday.

It marked the start of an intense five-phase contest that will conclude on November 5 for which counting will take place on November 8.