Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Bhagalpur voters upset with 'missing' JD(U) MP but say will vote for him to strengthen Modi

Some, however, are not in the mood to give the MP a long rope and are looking for change.
Last Updated : 24 April 2024, 04:42 IST
Last Updated : 24 April 2024, 04:42 IST

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Bhagalpur (Bihar): Many voters in Bihar's Bhagalpur Lok Sabha constituency say sitting JD(U) MP Ajay Mandal was 'missing' for the last five years but they would vote for him again this year as it would bolster the chances of Prime Minister Narendra Modi returning to power.

Some, however, are not in the mood to give the MP a long rope and are looking for change.

With 23.30 lakh voters, Bhagalpur is one of the biggest and most important parliamentary constituencies of Bihar, which sends 40 MPs to the Lok Sabha.

Before the 1989 Bhagalpur riots, in which over 1,000 people lost their lives, the constituency was a Congress bastion. Since the riots, the seat has been won by RJD, JD(U) or BJP.

Bhagalpur, famous for its silk fabric and aromatic variety of rice called Katarni, will go to polls in the second round of the seven-phase general elections on April 26.

Shankar, a barber, claimed Mandal will win because the JD(U) is a BJP ally.

"Even though the JD(U) MP did nothing for the city and the constituency in the last five years, he will win because he is backed by Modi ji. He has been missing for the past five years," Shankar said.

P N Pandey, a farmer, said he will vote for Mandal out of 'compulsion' because of Modi.

Amit Kaushik, a young entrepreneur, also faces the same dilemma. He said he wants change in his constituency but also wants Modi to return as prime minister.

On the other hand, Shamsher Ansari, a silk weaver, has made up his mind.

"Mandal did not undertake any development work in the past five years. The silk industry, once the pride of the city, is now under stress. So, let us give a chance to the Congress candidate who seems more promising," he said.

Mandal won Bhagalpur seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, defeating the RJD's Shailesh Kumar Alias Vulo Mandal by a margin of 2,77,630.

This year, Mandal will take on Congress's Ajit Sharma, a three-time MLA and father of Bollywood actors Neha and Aisha Sharma.

Mandal told PTI that he has requested Prime Minister Modi to address voters in his constituency like he did in the last elections.

The Congress is contesting the Bhagalpur seat after a gap of several years but Sharma is confident of winning.

Voters have decided they want change, he said.

Mandal did not carry out any development work in Bhagalpur and his participation in Parliament was also minimal, Sharma told PTI.

"People are clamouring for development and support for the silk industry, which is under stress. This time, development is an issue and the I.N.D.I.A. bloc is committed to it," he said.

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addressed a rally in Bhagalpur on April 20 in support of Sharma and assured the voters that the I.N.D.I.A. bloc will focus on job creation, poverty alleviation, Dalit welfare and women empowerment.

Dalits constitute about 12 per cent of the voters in Bhagalpur.

Sharma's daughters have also been an integral part of his election campaign.

The counting of votes for all seven phases of the Lok Sabha polls will be taken up on June 4.

Published 24 April 2024, 04:42 IST

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