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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: 50 candidates in fray for five Bihar constituencies in phase two

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), a BJP ally, is contesting all the five seats, including Kishanganj, which it seeks to wrest from the Congress, while its MPs in the remaining four constituencies would try to retain their turf.
Last Updated : 25 April 2024, 12:27 IST
Last Updated : 25 April 2024, 12:27 IST

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Patna: The stage is set for the second phase of Lok Sabha polls in Bihar on Friday, when more than 93 lakh voters will decide the fate of 50 candidates across five constituencies.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), a BJP ally, is contesting all the five seats, including Kishanganj, which it seeks to wrest from the Congress, while its MPs in the remaining four constituencies would try to retain their turf.

Bihar’s only parliamentary constituency where Muslims are in majority, Kishanganj, is heading for yet another three-cornered contest between Congress MP Mohd Javed, JD(U) runner up of 2019 Mujahid Alam and Akhtarul Iman of the AIMIM, who had made a splash five years ago by garnering close to three lakh votes.

The maximum spotlight appears to be on Purnea, where altogether seven candidates are in the fray, the lowest for the five seats.

An intense three-cornered battle is being witnessed in the Lok Sabha constituency where JD(U) MP Santosh Kushwaha aims at a hat-trick, but will face a stiff challenge from three-time former MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, who is contesting as an Independent, and RJD’s Bima Bharti, an MLA who recently crossed over from the chief minister’s party.

In neighbouring Katihar, former Union minister Tariq Anwar, who has won the seat many times, on tickets of the Congress to which he returned a few years ago as also the NCP of which he was a founding member, is trying to wrest the constituency from JD(U)’s Dulal Chandra Goswami, to whom he had lost by a thin margin last time.

Another keenly watched constituency is Bhagalpur, which the Congress is contesting for the first time in over two decades. Party MLA Ajeet Sharma, who has been springing a surprise in the last couple of assembly polls by winning the eponymous Vidhan Sabha seat, is posing a tough challenge to JD(U) MP Ajay Mandal.

In Banka, JD(U) MP Giridhari Yadav is locked in yet another straight contest with RJD’s Jay Prakash Naryan Yadav, from whom he had wrested the seat five years ago.

Among the 50 candidates in the fray for the second phase, only three are women, with RJD’s Bima Bharti in Purnea being the lone female contesting on a major party’s ticket.

The total number of voters for the five seats is 93.96 lakh, including 45.15 lakh women and 306 belonging to the third gender.

Young voters form more than one-third of the electorate, with 13.77 lakh in the age group of 18-19 years and another 20.86 lakh aged between 20 and 29 years.

Special arrangements will be in place for 89,743 persons with disabilities and 79,085 voters aged over 85 years.

More than 150 companies of paramilitary forces will assist the local police in ensuring free and fair polls, officials said.

The elections will take place at a time when the state is reeling under an intense heatwave, with the mercury shooting past the 40-degrees Celsius mark in most parts.

Arrangements for tents and drinking water have been made at the polling centres, they said.

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Published 25 April 2024, 12:27 IST

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