Why Upendra Kushwaha is in the line of fire?

PTI file photo.

 

Karakat Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar would have largely remained unnoticed had former Union Minister and RLSP president Upendra Kushwaha not been contesting from here.

 

In 2014, he won with a comfortable margin, became a Union Minister in Narendra Modi Government but dumped NDA 55 months after serving as Minister of State in the HRD Ministry.

Currently, an important ally in Mahagatbandhan, Kushwaha is, however, facing hostile voters who are gearing up to punish him at the hustings for backstabbing Modi. “Kushwaha is in the habit of backstabbing those who promote him,” says 70-year-old Krishna Choudhary, a farmer in Bikramganj.

“Nitish ji made Upendra Kushwaha Leader of the Opposition in Bihar Assembly in 2004. He, however, ditched Nitish. Later, after a patch-up, Nitish made him a Rajya Sabha member. Kushwaha again became too big for his boots and deserted Nitish. In 2014, he won from Karakat riding Modi wave. He was made a Union Minister. He ditched Narendra Modi too. Now that he is in Mahagatbandhan, what is the guarantee that he won’t desert Mahagatbandhan too, if the situation so arises,” argued the septuagenarian.

In Obra, one of the Assembly segments of Karakat Lok Sabha constituency, the wave is quite apparent, unlike other parts of Bihar. “Before Nitish came to power, we were facing the double whammy in this Naxal-infested zone. On the one hand, Maoists would regularly demand levy from influential farmers and contractors. On the other hand, poor law and order further compounded the problem,” said Santosh Kumar, a local trader.
 

KARAKAT Lok Sabha constituency (BIHAR)

2014 winner: Upendra Kushwaha (RLSP)

Runners up: Kanti Singh (RJD)

Margin of votes: 1,05,241.

2019 contestants: Upendra Kushwaha (RLSP) vs Mahabali Singh (JD-U).

Total Voters: 13,86,634

“At present, we are happy with the ‘double engine’ Government (in reference to Nitish-Modi regime). Unlike Rahul Gandhi, who is a non-serious politician, both Nitish and Modi are development-centric politician,” he said and hastened to add, “Look at Modi and his muscular approach in dealing with Pakistan. India’s standing in world forum is today several notches up… ‘aisa PM Kahan milega’ (where will you get such PM)?”

His co-villager Nirmal Mahto echoes similar sentiments. “Desh rahega to vikas bhi hoga. (The country will thrive only if it survives),” says Mahto drawing parallel about Pulwama and Sri Lanka attacks.

Almost in every six Assembly segments of this parliamentary constituency, voters dropped ample hints why they were rooting for JD (U)’s Mahabali Singh and why Kushwaha was in the line of (electorate) fire.

The polling in this Naxal-infested zone will take place on May 19.

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