Bickering begins ahead of Bihar by-polls

Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) chief, Nitish Kumar (PTI File Photo)

Four months after the Grand Alliance was completely decimated during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Bihar, the constituents of the so-called Mahagatbandhan have apparently not learnt their lesson. The four different parties in the GA are at loggerheads over the seats each of the outfit would like to contest during the ensuing by-polls slated for next month.

The by-elections for one Lok Sabha seat and five Assembly constituencies will be held on October 21. The counting of votes will take place on October 24 and the results will be declared the same day.

While the Congress, RJD and Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM (Hindustan Awam Morcha) have expressed its desire to contest as many seats as possible, the situation is no different in the NDA. After much deliberations, the JD (U) has, however, agreed to contest on four Assembly seats (Nathnagar, Belhar, Simri-Bakhtiyarpur and Daraunda), while leaving the remaining Kishanganj seat for the BJP. The LJP will put up its candidate Prince Raj, son of late Ram Chandra Paswan, whose untimely demise last month has led to a by-poll for Samastipur Lok Sabha seat. Paswan was younger brother of LJP chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.

Touted to be semi-finals before the 2020 Bihar Assembly elections, the by-poll outcome will show whether Modi’s charisma is intact or the wind has changed its direction after NDA wrested 39 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar in May this year.

The Congress is most likely to contest Kishanganj Assembly seat as its MLA, Md Javed, became a Lok Sabha member from Kishanganj, thereby forcing a bypoll for the Assembly seat. "The grand old party will also throw its hat in the ring of Samastipur Lok Sabha constituency as its candidate Ashok Ram was the runners-up during the 2019 parliamentary polls," said a source in the Congress.

The RJD, HAM and Upendra Kushwaha’s fledgling outfit Rashtriya Lok Samata party (RLSP) may share the pie for the remaining seats.

 

BIHAR BYPOLLS:

One Lok Sabha seat: Samastipur

Five Assembly seats: Nathnagar, Belhar, Simri-Bakhtiyarpur, Daraunda and Kishanganj

Date of polling: Oct 21

Counting of votes: Oct 24

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