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Five LS seats in Bihar go to polls in phase IV


Press Trust of India Patna
The electoral fortunes of 66 candidates will be decided on Monday when five Lok Sabha seats in Bihar will go to polls in the fourth phase on Monday.
The five constituencies Begusarai, Darbhanga, Ujiyarpur, Samastipur and Munger had been won by the NDA in 2014 with the BJP bagging the first three and Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP winning the rest.
These seats have a total of 87.75 lakh voters, including 228 belonging to the "third gender".
In Begusarai, firebrand leader and Union minister Giriraj Singh is engaged in a closely fought three-cornered contest with CPI's Kanhaiya Kumar and RJD's Tanveer Hassan.
The seat has been lying vacant for the past few months following the death of incumbent Bhola Singh of the BJP.
A loyalist of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Giriraj Singh moved here from Nawada, the seat being held by him, and hopes to keep at bay a split in votes of his Bhumihar caste, which dominates the district and to which his Left rival also belongs.
Kanhaiya is banking on the support of young voters cutting across the lines of religion and caste and a good performance at the hustings will enable him to wash off the stigma of a sedition case slapped on him while he was a student leader at the JNU. The constituency was once known as "Leningrad of Bihar" by virtue of its pronounced leanings towards the Left.
Hassan of RJD, who was the runner up five years ago, is confident that the formidable Muslim-Yadav combine would remain intact and propel him past the electoral finishing line ahead of the other contenders.
Darbhanga is witnessing a straight contest between BJP's Gopalji Thakur and RJD's Abdul Bari Siddiqui. Both parties had to battle competing claims by their respective allies before they declared their candidates.
The seat was won for BJP by Kirti Azad, who got suspended by the party later and ended up joining Congress. His new party wanted to field him from here but had to give in to the claim of RJD.
The BJP too had to negotiate with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JD(U), which initially desired to get the seat for its national general secretary Sanjay Jha.
State BJP president Nityanand Rai seeks to retain Ujiyarpur and inflict a crushing defeat on RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha whom he has been describing as the "bhagoda (fugitive) from Karakat seat". Kushwaha had fought the last general elections as an ally of the NDA, which he quit a few months ago, giving up his ministerial berth at the Centre too.
Besides being in the fray from his sitting seat of Karakat in south Bihar, Kushwaha has also thrown his hat in the ring from Ujiyarpur considering it "safer" in view of a more sizeable number of the Koeri caste to which he belongs.
The reserved constituency of Samastipur is witnessing a direct contest between LJP chief's brother and sitting MP Ram Chandra Paswan and Ashok Kumar of the Congress, who had lost five years ago by a thin margin of about 7,000 votes.
Munger, which the LJP had won the last time but had to forgo this time in favor of the JD(U), is witnessing virtually a straight contest between Rajiv Ranjan alias Lalan Singh a state minister and Nitish Kumar's close aide and Neelam Devi of the Congress, who is the wife of Anant Singh, Mokama MLA and a Bahubali.
In 2014, the seat was won by Veena Devi, the wife of another Mokama gangster-turned-politician Suraj Bhan Singh, who has been compensated with the LJP ticket for his brother Chandan Kumar from Nawada.
Voting will take place from 7 am to 6 pm during which 4252 micro-observers will carry out surveillance. Live webcast will be conducted at 130 polling stations.

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First Published: Apr 28 2019 | 4:50 PM IST

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