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Staggered Lok Sabha elections would help NDA in Bihar, alleges Opposition

The BJP has, however, denied the allegations. 'Grand Alliance members, particularly the RJD, seem frusturated and nervous. This is why they are abusing the EC,' said BJP spokesperson

Satyavrat Mishra  |  Patna 

BJP President Amit Shah, JD (U) Chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Union minister and LJP President Ram Vilas Paswan with his son and party MP Chirag Paswan address the media after a meeting  at Shah's residence, in New Delhi, Sunday

Opposition leaders in Bihar have alleged that staggering the Lok Sabha elections in the state over seven phases would help the ruling

Last Sunday, the announced that polling in four constituencies in Bihar would take place on April 11. Over the next four phases (on April 18, 23, 29 and May 6), votes would be cast for five seats each. Eight seats would go to polls in each of the final two phases (May 12 and 19).

Poll analysts claim that seats where the and the (United) are facing a tough fight have been pushed to the last two phases.

For instance, Aurangabad, Gaya, Nawada, and Jamui would go to polls the first phase. The NDA is in a good position in these seats, said analysts.

The BJP's Sushil Kumar is likely to contest from his seat, Aurangabad. His is considered to be stronger than his rival, Nikhil Kumar of the Indian National Congress.

The Nawada seat, currently represented by Union Minister of State for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Giriraj Singh, might go to the BJP’s ally, the (LJP). Veena Devi of the LJP is likely to contest from this seat.

Gaya is another stronghold of the BJP. Party sources said it might field a new face from here. LJP’s Chirag Paswan might have faced a tough fight in Jamui, but he is likely to move to Hajipur, as his father Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Cabinet minister for food, consumer affairs and public distribution, has decided to not seek re-election. “The schedule has been made in such a manner that it is likely to help the BJP,” said Rashtriya Vice-President Shivanand Tiwary. He added, “This gives more than enough time for electioneering to the BJP and the JD(U). In Tamil Nadu, which has 39 Lok Sabha seats, elections will be held for all on April 18. Why can’t this be done for Bihar as well?”

Bihar sends 40 parliamentarians to the Lok Sabha.

Tiwary said the BJP had been given time to be better prepared in constituencies where they are facing a fight.

The BJP has, however, denied the allegations. “members, particularly the RJD, seem frusturated and nervous. This is why they are abusing the EC,” said BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand.

In the second phase, the NDA hopes to gain in Purnea, Bhagalpur, and Banka. The JD(U)’s Santosh Kushwaha will once again contest from Purnea. Sources said Chief Minister Nitish Kumar might field Putul Devi, widow of late Digvijay Sinh, in Banka.

The BJP also expects to make gains in Bhagalpur, which was in news last years due to communal clashes. The NDA is expecting a tough fight in East Chamaparan, West Chamaparan, Sheohar, Gopalganj, Buxar, Karakat, Jehanabad, Patliputra, and Sasaram.

Sources in political circles said the RJD is planning to “offer” Gopalganj to the This might create problems for the BJP. could also face a serious challenge in East Chamapran. Lalu Prasad’s daughter is likely to be a strong contender in Patliputra.

Lalu Prasad’s daughter is likely to be a strong contender in Patliputra.

First Published: Wed, March 13 2019. 23:03 IST