Whoever wins, it has to be Paswan's kin

Not everyone in Kalyanpur is happy over Nitish joining hands with Lalu

Whoever wins, it has to be Paswan's kin

A few kilometres ahead of Kalyanpur is a roadside dhaba in Akbarpur village where a fleet of SUVs makes a brief stopover. Flanked by his supporters, the uncrowned Prince (his actual name is Prince Raj) gets down from his SUV, greets village elders, youth and other locals.

In his early 30s, Prince, who is Ram Vilas Paswan’s nephew, is the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) candidate from Kalyanpur Assembly reserved constituency, where voting will take place in the first phase of polling on October 12. Being the latest entrant from Paswan’s undivided family, Prince is son of Ram Vilas Paswan’s younger brother Ram Chandra Paswan, who, incidentally, happens to be a Lok Sabha member from Samastipur, the parliamentary constituency under which comes the Kalyanpur Assembly segment.

Locals argue that Prince has the traits of his father — affable, soft-spoken and down to earth. But so is Maheshwar Hazari — the 1971-born Janata Dal (United) candidate, whose late father and a veteran Socialist Ram Sevak Hazari was the JD (U) MLA from Kalyanpur till he passed away a couple of years ago at the age of 75. Hazari was the cousin of Paswan. Such is the grip of Hazaris here that during the 2010 Assembly poll, Kalyanpur was wrested by Ram Sevak Hazari (a six-term MLA and equal number of times an MP) while his son Maheshwar Hazari then represented Samastipur as its Lok Sabha member from Nitish’s party (from 2009 to 2014). Maheshwar had trounced his kin and LJP heavyweight Ram Chandra Paswan in 2009.

Ram Chandra, however, avenged his defeat in 2014 parliamentary elections by routing Maheshwar. The same Maheshwar is now pitted against Ram Chandra’s son Prince, who is likely to get bulk votes of BJP cadre, Paswans, Kushwahas and Mahadalits (as LJP, RLSP and HAM are alliance partners of the BJP). On the other hand, Maheshwar enjoys the confidence of JD (U) strongman Nitish Kumar who started his poll campaign from Kalyanpur last month.He is the candidate of mahagatbandhan (grand alliance) which comprises the JD (U), RJD and the Congress. But not everyone in this reserved constituency is happy over Nitish joining hands with Lalu. “Hazari is a good leader.
But the man who won 2009 Lok Sabha may have to struggle in winning an Assembly election this time, thanks to his association with Lalu,” Sheet Kumar Singh of Akbarpur told Deccan Herald.

To buttress his point, he cited the instance of Lalu’s rally here where 5,000 people left the venue once Lalu started addressing them. “Baaki aap samajiye. (Rest you can make out),” his colleague said and added, “How does it matter who wins? After all, either of the winner will be a relative of Paswan ji.”

NAME: Prince Raj
BETTER KNOWN AS: Ram Vilas Paswan’s nephew and Ram Chandra Paswan’s son.
PRESENT STATUS: LJP nominee from Kalyanpur. 
ADVANTAGE: Has Paswan as well as NDA’s backing.
DISADVANTAGE: A rookie politician. Has never won a poll.

NAME: Maheshwar Hazari
BETTER KNOWN AS: Former MP and ex-MLA Ram Sevak Hazari’s son.
PRESENT STATUS: This former MP from Samastipur is
Nitish’s candidate from Kalyanpur Assembly seat. 
ADVANTAGE: Has been an elected representative. Will like to encash sympathy for his late father, a veteran Socialist and parliamentarian.
DISADVANTAGE: Faces an NDA-backed opponent, who
happens to be a distant kin.

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