NDA announces candidates for 39 out of 40 seats in Bihar

PTI Patna | Updated on March 26, 2019

The NDA in Bihar, comprising the BJP, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) and Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP, on Saturday announced its candidates for all but one of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

As per the list announced at a press meet here by BJP national general secretary in-charge for the state, Bhupendra Yadav, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will be contesting from Patna Sahib seat - a party stronghold represented by Shatrughan Sinha in the outgoing Lok Sabha. According to media reports, Sinha is expected to join the Congress soon and seek re-election on the grand old party’s ticket.

While Union minister Giriraj Singh, whose Nawada seat has gone to the LJP, has been shifted to Begusarai, his colleagues in the council of ministers Radha Mohan Singh, R K Singh, Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Ram Kripal Yadav will be fielded from their respective sitting seats of Motihari, Ara, Buxar and Pataliputra.

Begusarai, won by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2014, fell vacant upon the death of MP Bhola Singh a few months ago. The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) has fielded Chandan Kumar from Nawada where he will be taking on Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD) Vibha Devi - wife of Raj Vallabh Yadav who lost his membership of the Assembly recently upon conviction in a rape case.

State BJP president Nityanand Rai will be seeking re- election from his Ujiyarpur seat. The saffron party’s national spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy will be seeking re-election from Saran, where he had defeated former Chief Minister Rabri Devi five years ago. Speculations were rife that he might be dropped this time.

Another BJP national spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Husain was hopeful of a ticket from Bhagalpur, which he had represented in the past but lost the seat to RJD in 2014. The seat has gone to the ruling Janata Dal (United) this time, which fielded Ajay Kumar Mandal as its candidate.

A surprise inclusion in the BJP’s list was Chhedi Paswan, who will be seeking re-election from Sasaram, which he had won defeating Congress veteran and former Lok Sabha Speaker Meera Kumar.

Earlier, there were reports that Paswan, who had often been critical of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in Bihar, might not be reconsidered for the 2019 polls. The BJP has also reposed its faith in Pradeep Kumar Singh for Araria, which he had won in 2009 but failed to wrest it back five years later and also during the by-poll last year, necessitated by the death of sitting RJD MP Mohd Taslimuddin.

LJP state president Pashupati Kumar Paras will be replacing his brother and party chief Ram Vilas Paswan in Hajipur as the Union minister is likely to get a Rajya Sabha ticket. Chirag Paswan, the son of the LJP chief, will be seeking re-election from Jamui. Yadav said that the candidate for Khagaria Lok Sabha seat, which would also be contested by the LJP, would be announced shortly. He was accompanied by Bihar BJP president Nityanand Rai, state JD(U) chief Vashishth Narayan Singh, and LJP’s Paras at the press meet. Currently, the Khagaria seat is held by the LJP, but it is not clear whether sitting MP Mehboob Ali Kaiser will be fielded again.

The BJP, which had won 22 constituencies in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, conceded five of the seats to the JD(U), which returned to the NDA in 2017. Other notable changes in the saffron party’s list, with respect to the previous parliamentary elections, include former MLA Gopalji Thakur, who has been fielded from Darbhanga -- a seat the party had won five years ago with Kirti Azad as its candidate. Azad had recently joined the Congress.

In Madhubani, Ashok Yadav replaces his father and sitting MP Hukum Dev Narayan Yadav-- a Padma awardee who has retired from active politics. The LJP has given its ticket from Vaishali to Veena Devi-- a former BJP MLA and wife of JD(U) MLC Dinesh Prasad Singh, who joined Paswan’s party after the announcement.

Her namesake Veena Devi, the wife of mafia don turned politician Suraj Bhan Singh, who is the MP from Munger, has been dropped from the list. Munger is being contested by JD(U) leader and state minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan. Vaishali is currently represented by another don turned politician Rama Singh, who has been dropped by the LJP this time. All three constituents of the NDA have fielded one woman each.

While BJP’s Rama Devi will be seeking re-election from Sheohar, the JD(U) has fielded MLA Kavita Singh from Siwan Lok Sabha seat. The ruling party in Bihar has retained its candidates for its two sitting seats - Kaushalendra Kumar (Nalanda) and Santosh Kumar Kushwaha (Purnea).

Another JD(U) candidate is Vijay Manjhi from Gaya, whose mother Bhagwati Devi-- a former stone-cutter-- had represented the seat in 1990s. Besides, the party has fielded state minister for disaster management Dinesh Chandra Yadav from Madhepura, currently represented by controversial MP Pappu Yadav.

Interestingly, six of the three LJP candidates - Chirag, Paras and Ramchandra Paswan (Samastipur) are members of the same family.

Published on March 23, 2019

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