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6th phase crucial for NDA in Bihar: Stakes are high (Curtain Raiser)

IANS  |  Patna 

Stakes are high for the ruling BJP-led NDA in the eight constituencies in the penultimate phase on Sunday as it aims to retain all the seats that it had won in the 2014 polls.

For the opposition's Grand Alliance, its a win-win situation as it eyes to gain some seats with nothing to lose.

The Bhojpuri-speaking north belt will go to the polls on May 12, when more than 1.38 lakh voters will decide the fate of 127 candidates in Gopalganj, Siwan, Maharajganj, East Champaran, West Champaran, Valmiki Nagar, and

In the fray will be several NDA stalwarts, including Union (BJP candidate from East Champaran), (BJP candidate from Sheohar) and (BJP candidate from Maharajganj). is aiming for a hat-trick.

In 2014, the BJP and its ally LJP, had won all eight seats thanks to the Modi wave. However, this time around the caste equations have changed on the ground as also there is no clear wave. The NDA faces an uphill task unlike what had been in the last five concluded phases.

The ruling BJP-JD-U are fighting the elections together this time. The Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal-United had contested the 2014 polls alone.

As per the seat-sharing formula, the NDA is contesting from Siwan, and Gopalganj. The BJP has ceded its winning seats for the JD-U.

The electoral contest in East and are between political greenhorns and heavy-weights.

East (Motihari)

All the eyes are on Radha Mohan Singh, a veteran and a sitting MP, facing challenge from young Akash Singh, candidate (RLSP).

If the 69-year-old Unon for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, is seeking support saying it is his last Lok Sabha polls, while the 27-year-old son of senior and former Union is facing the hussles for the first time

has requested voters to give him a chance to make a difference. His father had defeated in the 2004 polls from the same seat. However, in 2009 and 2014 won the seat.

The battle in East is between the old and young. But in caste-ridden politics, their presence in the fray has divided the two powerful upper caste. If Rajputs are openly supporting Radha Mohan Singh, the Bhumihars are supporting

Valmikinagar

Here the fight is triangular between JD-U heavyweight Baidyabath Kushwaha, Congress' Shashwat Kedar and BSP's

Kushwaha had won the seat in 2009 but was defeated in 2014 by BJP's Satish Chandra Dubey, who was denied ticket by the party this time as the seat went to ally JD-U.

Shashwat Kedar, 32, an alumnus of the elite Mayo College, Ajmer, is the grandson of veteran and former He is heavily banking on Brahmins, who have a sizeable population and once were known as the traditional supporter of the party.

The is hopeful of its revival in its erstwhile stronghold.

The third contestant -- Bahujan Samaj Party's Deepak Yadav, is yet again a young dynamic alumnus. He owns a sugar mill in the area and is the richest candidate in the fray not only in but in this sixth phase of polls.

Maharajganj

Another constituency with more or less a similar situation is Maharajganj, where BJP sitting is facing challenge from an young Randhur Singh of Rashtriya Both are from powerful Rajput caste. The battle is between two Rajputs.

Sigriwal is a former Bihar Minister and four-time MLA. Up against him is debutante Randhir, son of four time jailed former Prabhunath Singh, a 'Bahubali' a muscle man.

Vaishali

Here the fight is directly between two Rajputs -- RJD's Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, former Union Minister, who faces challenge from Lok Janshakti Party' Veena Devi, wife of his former

Siwan

It's a battle with a difference. Siwan is witnessing a contest between the better halves of two Bahubalis and CPI (ML) veteran, who is trying to make it triangular.

After unsuccessfully contesting twice, Sahab, 46, wife of jailed former Mohammad Shahabuddin, is going all out to win the Siwan constituency -- once an undisputed Shahabuddin stronghold.

Her prime challenger is Kavita Singh, 33, a Janata Dal-United (JD-U) candidate and wife of Ajay Singh, another 'Bahubali'. She is a sitting from the seat and is contesting her first Lok Sabha polls.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist's (CPI-ML) Amarnath Yadav is also in the race from Siwan.

Sheohar

Here BJP's Rama Devi, widow of late 'Bahubali' Brij Bihari Prasad is facing challenge from RJD's Syed Faisal Ali, a journalist, who is contesting the polls for the first time. had won the seat twice.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made with adequate paramilitary personnel deployed in all the parliamentary constituencies with surveillance mounted on drones, officials said.

The Indo-border, lying along a few of the constituencies set to vote on Sunday, was sealed on Saturday.

Apart from Meenapur, segments in Lok Sabha constituency and Valmiki Nagar and segments of the Valmiki Nagar Lok Sabha seat, where polling will end at 4 p.m., all the other seats will have normal poll time from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, May 11 2019. 16:20 IST
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