In Jamui, it's a fight between a newbie and heavyweight

Last Updated 29 March 2014, 19:58 IST

If you have heard about Jamui only as the Maoist-infested zone in Bihar, you are not totally off the mark. However, this Lok Sabha constituency has, of late, added glamour to its name.

Reason: Chirag Paswan, the actor-turned-politician son of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president Ram Vilas Paswan is making his debut in the parliamentary polls from this reserved constituency.

He is pitted against Janata Dal (United) heavyweight and Speaker of Bihar Assembly, Uday Narayan Choudhary.

In his early 30s, Chirag is holding road shows from Sheikhpura and Sikandra to Chakai and Jhajha (which also shares a border with Jharkhand), and getting his first taste of the heat and dust of Bihar politics.

“On Friday, Chirag met me during his road show and said he would do for Jamui much more than his father did for Hajipur. I was impressed with the way he talked and assured us to ameliorate our problems,” Rajesh Kumar, an unemployed graduate, told Deccan Herald, indicating further that he would vote for Paswan’s son as “Chirag is also Narendra Modi’s candidate here.” The LJP has entered into an alliance with the BJP in Bihar where the saffron party has been extending whole-hearted support to the LJP heir apparent.

“Chirag has also been ‘blessed’ by another Narendra here,” said one of his aides. He was referring to the strongman of Jamui, Narendra Singh, who is Agriculture Minister in the Nitish cabinet, but is reportedly not backing the JD (U) candidate.

Such is the hold of Narendra Singh in Jamui that the influential minister two days ago told a gathering in the presence of Nitish, “Mr CM, if I do not back your candidate whole-heartedly, chances are Uday Babu will forfeit his deposit.” The gathering could not make out whether he was actually issuing an ultimatum to Nitish or planning to change colours again. Incidentally, Narendra Singh was president of Bihar LJP before he switched over to the JD (U).

With the ‘blessings’ of two Narendras, Chirag is not only riding high on NaMo wave, but is seen as one who could bring this backward constituency on the national map.

“He is young and educated, and became chairman of the LJP Parliamentary Party (LJPPP) at such a tender age. Moreover, Uday Narayan Choudhary, who reportedly enjoys the support of underground guerrillas, is an outsider as he is from Gaya. Besides, he is facing the wrath of people ever since Nitish severed ties with the BJP,” said a JD (U) activist refusing to be identified.

The anonymous worker dropped ample hints as to why he, despite being in the JD (U), would vote for the LJP-BJP nominee. “Nitish, of late, has stopped caring for his grass-roots workers. After all, it’s these workers and activists who cheer for him, bring crowds for his rally and take voters up to booths on poll days. But what do they get in return? Ab toh samman bhi nahin hai (Now there is no respect for us),” he said.

(Published 29 March 2014, 19:58 IST)

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