The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will look to defend its turf in the 6th phase of polling in Bihar on May 12 as the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition had won all the eight seats going to the polls in this penultimate round of Lok Sabha elections.
There is a slight twist in the tale as the BJP has given up three of the seats it had won in 2014 to its partner Janata Dal (United) which had contested separately last time. JD(U) is contesting Gopalganj, Valmiki Nagar and Siwan seats where BJP candidates had won.
The BJP is contesting Sheohar, Purvi Champaran, Maharajganj and Pashchimi Champaran while Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) is contesting from Vaishali, a seat it had won last time.
The sixth phase will see some of the big names of Bihar politics battling it out.
Raghuvansh Prasad Singh (RJD) vs Veena Devi (LJP)
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and former union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh is looking to wrest back Vaishali from LJP. Raghuvansh, who is considered to be honest and often called the right man in the wrong party, is up against Veena Devi, the wife of powerful JD(U) MLC Dinesh Singh, who is contesting as a LJP candidate. Both being Rajputs, Veena Devi is expected to cut into Raghuvansh’s votes though. Raghuvansh had lost to Ram Kishore Singh of LJP in 2014 for the same reason.
Radha Mohan Singh (BJP) vs Aakash Singh (RLSP)
Five-time MP and Union minister Radha Mohan Singh of the BJP is looking for another term from Purvi Champaran, a seat he had won last time by over 2 lakh margin defeating Binod Kumar Srivastava of RJD. This time, he is facing a challenge from Aakash Kumar Singh of RLSP. Aakash, 27, is son of Congress leader Akhilesh Prasad Singh.
Kavita Singh (JD-U) vs Hena Shahab (RJD)
All eyes are also on Siwan where two “dons” have fielded their wife. RJD candidate Hena Shahab is wife of four-time MP and controversial mafia don Mohammad Shahabuddin. She is facing Kavita Singh of JD (U) who is wife of Ajay Singh, a Rajput strongman, considered Shahabuddin’s arch rival. Hena Shahabd had lost to Om Prakash Yadav of BJP in 2014.
Janardan Singh Sigriwal (BJP) vs Randhir Singh (RJD)
Maharajganj will see contest between BJP’s sitting MP Janardan Singh Sigriwal and Randhir Singh, son of strongman RJD leader Prabhu Nath Singh. The RJD leader had lost to Sigriwal in this Rajput-dominated seat in 2014.
Dr Alok Kumar Suman (JD-U) vs Surendra Ram (RJD)
BJP’s stronghold Gopalganj this time is being contested by JD(U). BJP’s Janak Ram had won the seat in 2014 winning 52.99 per cent votes. But this time, JD(U) has fielded Dr Alok Kumar Suman who is facing a challenge from Surendra Ram alias Mahant of RJD. The constituency has a mix of Ahir, Muslim, Brahmin, Vaishya, Kurmi, Koeri and Dalit voters.
Rama Devi (BJP) vs Syed Faisal Ali (RJD)
The Sheohar seat was in the limelight because of internal feud between Lalu Prasad’s sons Tejashvi and Tej Pratap. Tej Pratap was not in favour of RJD’s nominee Syed Faisal Ali, a former journalist who worked in Saudi Arabia. He is facing Rama Devi of BJP who is also the sitting MP. She had won 44.19 per cent votes last time.
Shashwat Kedar (Congress) vs Vaidyanath Prasad Mahto (JD-U)
Valmiki Nagar is the only seat where Congress is in the fray. The party has fielded Shashwat Kedar, grandson of former chief minister Kedar Pandey. He is facing Vaidyanath Prasad Mahto of JD (U). The Congress had lost the seat in 2014 when its candidate Purnmasi Ram was defeated by Satish Chandra Dubey of BJP.
The NDA had won 31 out of 40 seats in Bihar in 2014. The BJP had won 22 and its partners LJP got 6 and RLSP won 3. This time RLSP has left NDA which has now included JD(U).