There is barely a day left before campaigning for the by-election of five Assembly constituencies and one Lok Sabha seat in Bihar comes to an end, but Congress top guns are nowhere to be seen during electioneering.
The Congress is contesting the Lok Sabha bypoll for Samastipur seat, as its candidate, Ashok Kumar had polled more than three lakh votes during the May 2019 Parliamentary elections but still lost to Ram Chandra Paswan, younger brother of LJP chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
Ram Chandra’s untimely demise has led to the bypoll in the reserved parliamentary constituency. The LJP has fielded Ram Chandra’s son, Prince Raj, as its candidate.
Though the Congress has fielded three-term MLA Ashok Kumar again, party’s stalwarts, including Meira Kumar - a self-proclaimed Dalit leader and daughter of former Deputy Prime Minister Babu Jagjiwan Ram - have refrained from campaigning for Ashok.
Nikhil Kumar, the retired IPS-turned-Congress ex-MP, too is missing from the action. “Neither cricketer-turned-Congress leader Kirti Azad nor actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha deemed it fit to campaign for the party nominees,” lamented a Bihar Congress functionary.
Congress is also contesting Kishanganj Assembly seat as its MLA, Md Jawed became Lok Sabha MP from Kishanganj in May 2019. Jawed’s septuagenarian mother, Saida Bano, is the party candidate pitted against BJP’s Sweety Singh. In the other four Assembly constituencies, there is a direct contest between the JD (U) and the RJD.
Amit Shah’s rock-like support to Nitish Kumar on poll-eve has boosted the morale of the NDA candidates, while the Mahagatbandhan candidates remain beset with internal strife.
The polling for bypolls will take place on October 21, while the results will be declared on October 24.