Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Stakes high for JD(U), RJD in Phase 3 polls today

Close to 90 lakh voters will be deciding the fate of 82 candidates, five of them women and 33 not associated with any political party, in the five Lok Sabha seats of Bihar which go to polls in the third phase of general elections on April 23.

Four sitting MPs, Ranjeet Ranjan (Supaul), her husband Pappu Yadav (Madhepura), Sarfaraz Alam (Araria) and Mehboob Ali Kaiser (Khagaria) are seeking to retain their respective seats while Jhanjharpur, which is held by the BJP, has gone to the JD(U) this time as part of NDA’s seat deal.

In at least four of the five seats, the two main regional parties from Bihar, the ruling JD(U) and RJD, are ranged against each other.

Out of the 25 assembly seats in the five Lok Sabha constituencies, the JD (U) had won on 14 in the 2015 assembly elections and the RJD six.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the JD(U) is contesting on three out of the five seats. One of them, Jhanjharpur, is currently held by BJP.

The fight is particularly interesting in Madhepura, where JD(U)’s former national president Sharad Yadav is contesting on an RJD ticket while Pappu Yadav, who won the seat for the RJD in 2014, is in the fray as an Independent. The JD(U) has fielded Dinesh Chandra Yadav.

The fight is being seen as a prestige battle between chief minister Nitish Kumar on one hand and RJD president Lalu Prasad and Sharad Yadav on the other.

The election is also important for husband-wife duo of Ranjeet Ranjan and Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, whose candidature from Madhepura had antagonised the RJD, whose leader Tejashwi Yadav had failed to campaign for Ranjeet Ranjan, the Congress MP from Supaul who is seeking re-election from the same constituency.

The elections on April 23 will also decide the fate of Sarfaraz Alam, the RJD MP from Araria, Pradip Kumar Singh, the BJP nominee from Araria, Chowdhary Mehboob Ali Kaiser, the LJP MP and candidate from Khagaria and Mukesh Saini of VIP, who is in fray in Khagaria as a debutant.

“This region will assess the strength of JD(U) and RJD, both of which have their strongholds. For chief minister Nitish Kumar, it will also be a test whether the EBC are still with him or not,” said Professor Vijay Kumar of BRA Bihar University, Muzaffarpur.

First Published:
Apr 23, 2019 08:00 IST

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