Bihar's Chittorgarh awaits an interesting battle

Of all the 40 Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar, Aurangabad has the rare distinction of sending only Rajputs to Parliament ever since the first general elections in 1952. No wonder, then, that it’s called the “Chittorgarh” of Bihar, and has the statue of the legendary Maharana Pratap Singh at the entrance.

But one question being hotly debated here is: Should Congress candidate Nikhil Kumar have resigned as Kerala governor and entered the hurly-burly of politics? The soft-spoken Kumar was Delhi Police commissioner before he dumped the khakis and donned the khadi in 2004, winning his debut parliamentary polls from the family bastion of Aurangabad.

Son of veteran Congress and Rajput leader Satyendra Narain Sinha (former Bihar chief minister who represented Aurangabad as MP six times), Kumar lost the 2009 polls to Sushil Kumar Singh of the Janata Dal (United), or the JD(U), who then had the support of erstwhile alliance partner BJP. Singh has since deserted Nitish’s camp and is now a BJP candidate against Kumat. 

This is a second-generation “war” as Singh's father Ram Naresh Singh had defeated Kumar's father in 1989 and 1991. Kumar avenged the “humiliation” when he pipped Singh in 2004, but bit dust in 2009. Many people in Aurangabad feel that Kumar was better off as Kerala governor, a post he quit last month, as he is not cut out to be an MP.

 “his biggest drawback is he remains inaccessible. Unlike Singh, he neither interacts with the common man nor redresses grievances,” lamented grocery-shop-owner Basant.

However, for Singh, riding on the popular Modi wave, the road to success is not entirely smooth. His problem has been compounded by the enemy within: Aurangabad's BJP MLA Ramadhar Singh has vowed to ensure his defeat. 

“Ramadhar had defeated Singh's brother (contesting on a JD(U) ticket) in the last Assembly elections. Since then, they are arch-rivals,” said businessman Ajay Kumar about the dynamics in Rajput bastion.

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