The Yadav brothers – Tejashwi and Tej Pratap – are going to be in fray in the second phase of Bihar assembly elections on November 3, the most crucial of the three phases, besides a host of other prominent candidates eyeing entry (or re-entry) to the 243-seat assembly.
About 2.85 crore voters will exercise their franchise to decide the fate of nearly 1,500 candidates who are contesting from 94 assembly segments spread across 17 districts of the northern state, a hotbed of caste politics.
The notable candidates in this phase include Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Tejashwi Yadav, the chief ministerial candidate of the Opposition alliance, who has been aggressively trying to cash in on the anti-incumbency factor against the Nitish Kumar government, besides his brother and another RJD face, Tej Pratap Yadav.
All the four assembly segments in the capital city – Patna Sahib, Kumhrar, Bankipur and Digha, all held by BJP – are also going to polls in the second phase.
Here are some of the candidates in fray in the second phase:
Tejashwi Yadav, the chief ministerial face of the Opposition alliance, is seeking re-election from the Raghopur constituency in Vaishali district, which he had wrested back from BJP’s Satish Kumar in 2015. Kumar was termed a ‘ginat killer’ after he had defeated former CM and Yadav’s mother Rabri Devi in the seat in 2010. The BJP has, however, stood firm with its trust in Kumar, believing that he’ll be able to pull a 2010-like feat again this year.
Tej Pratap Yadav, the elder brother of Tejashwi, is trying his luck from the Hasanpur seat in Samastipur district, shifting his base from Mahua in Vaishali. There were said to be fears that Tej Pratap’s bid to retain Mahua could be challenged by the NDA through his estranged wife Aishwarya. She is taking an active part in the campaign for her father Chandrika Roy in Parsa, which he is seeking to retain on a JD(U) ticket this time.
Nand Kishore Yadav, the state minister is in the fray trying to retain Patna Sahib for a seventh consecutive term. The BJP leader is in charge of the road construction ministry in the current Nitish cabinet. He has won all the assembly elections since 1995. RJD has filed Santosh Mehta
Chandrika Roy, the father of Tej Pratap Yadav’s estranged wife Aishwarya, has represented the Yadav-dominated Parsa constituency in Saran district several times and is seeking to retain the seat on a JD(U) ticket this time. A former RJD leader, Roy quit the Lalu Prasad-led party over the marital dispute between his daughter and Tej Pratap. Aishwarya is now actively campaigning for her father in the constituency and the electoral fight is being dominated by talks on her marital dispute.
Luv Sinha, son of actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha, is contesting on a Congress ticket against multiple-term MLA Nitin Nabin in the Bankipur assembly constituency. He is also pitted against Pushpam Priya Choudhary, the LSE graduate daughter of JD(U) leader Vinod Chaudhury who has floated her own outfit, the Plurals Party and is fighting elections for the first time. Luv’s father Shatrughan Sinha is a two-time local MP who lost the Patna Sahib seat last year when he entered the fray after quitting the BJP.
The BJP has retained as its candidates Arun Sinha and Sanjiv Chaurasia for Kumhrar and Digha respectively. Seven constituencies of Nalanda district, to which Chief Minister Nitish Kumar belongs, also go to polls in the second phase.
Barring Hilsa, represented by the RJD’s Shakti Singh Yadav, and Bihar Sharif, which two-term MLA Sunil Kumar retained on a BJP ticket in 2015, all the remaining five were won by the JD(U). The assembly segment named after the district is represented by state minister Shrawan Kumar who is seeking re-election from the seat.
The JD(U) has suffered a setback in the reserved Rajgir seat where its sitting MLA Ravi Jyoti, a former police inspector, is now the fray on a Congress ticket. Two other ministers Ram Sevak Singh (JDU) and Rana Randhir Singh (BJP) are trying their luck from Hathua and Madhuban in Gopalganj and East Champaran districts respectively. The ministers are sitting MLAs from the respective seats.
Many “bahubalis” or their wives, sons, brothers or other close relatives are also contesting a number of seats.
Facts and figures
- Of the 1,463 candidates in the fray on the 94 seats, nearly 10 per cent (146) are women. Among the 2.85 crore voters, females account for 1.35 crore.
- Maharajganj has the maximum number of 27 candidates for any constituency while Darauli (04) has the lowest.
- Among the major parties, the RJD is contesting 56 of the 94 seats while its ally Congress is contesting 24. The CPI and CPI(M), which joined the Grand Alliance recently, are fighting four seats each. Quite a few seats are being contested by the CPI(ML), the Left outfit with the strongest presence in Bihar.
- BJP candidates are in the fray in 46 of the seats, while another 43 are being contested by those with JD(U) tickets. Mukesh Sahni’s VIP, the latest entrant in the NDA, is contesting the remaining five.
- The LJP is contesting 52 seats, including the two it had won in 2015 contesting as an NDA constituent. The party has fielded one transgender candidate too in this phase.
According to the Election Commission, votes will be cast at a total of 41,362 polling stations.