By ASAD ASHRAF
Thu Apr 17, 2014
NEW DELHI: As parts of Bihar voted today in the third phase of polling for the Lok Sabha elections, speculations and anticipations run high over a few high profile seats where the competition appears be very close between the contenders who all are otherwise strong figures within their respective parties and constituencies.
Keen contests are being reported from across the state challenging poll predictions of a Modi sweep in this state. Locals are clear that they could not detect a wave through the polls today, with tough and close contests reported from different constituencies.
The BJP is relying on a mix of the upper caste vote along with a section of the backwards, in particular the Kurmis. Lalu Yadav is looking at the Yadav vote that remains with him, and the Muslim support to get his candidates through.
The Janata Dal(U) is positive that the Mahadalit plus backward plus Muslim combination would bring them “anything over 20 Lok Sabha seats.” JD(U) leaders told The Citizen that the media should visit the rural areas of the dense state to have an idea of what is really happening. As leader KC Tyagi said, “this sitting in big cities will not get anyone the answers, come to Bihar and see what is happening.”
Senior politicians and even the voters who turned out today could not really detect a Modi wave. It seems till now at least to be a traditional election with the caste and communities battling it out in the field under political tutelage. It is a hard battle this time around, with no one really clear as to which way the wind is blowing. And while Modi seems to be the crowd puller in these polls, the voter recognises the quiet efforts by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar to pull in the votes.
Jehanabad, which is known to be violent with muscle power dominating, remained relatively peaceful with the electorate casting the vote rather peacefully. Traditional caste rivals, the Bhumiyars and the Yadavs voted without intimidating each other with the contest between Surendra Prasad Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Arun Kumar of Rashtriya Lok Samta Party and Anil Kumar of the ruling Janata dal (U).
Both Anil Kumar and Arun Kumar are from the Bhumiyar community and are expected to divide this vote bank with possible advantage RJD.
What makes it an interesting contest is that the Bhumiyar vote seems to be shifting this time from Nitish Kumars JD(U) candidate towards the BJP supported Rashtriya Lok Samta Party, but could be compensated by the support ofthe Mahadalit votes along with the Muslims. The Mahadalits are widely perceived as the new support base for the JD(U) through which the chief minister hopes to neutralise the upper caste shift.
The JD(U) candidate Anil Kumar has a big business empire in Delhi and has been a prominent face in building the Brand Bihar campaign. He enjoys the support of J. Sharma , who is himself a strongman of Ghosi but could not contest the election after his conviction in the fodder scam.
RJD strongman Surendra Kumar Yadav is a strong contender for this seat, and is expected to consolidate the party’s traditional Yadav vote behind him.
Another important seat is Patliputra where the contest is directly between the BJP candidate Ram Kripal Yadav ,also known as RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav’s closest aide at a point of time and Lalu Yadav’s daughter Misa Yadav. Yadav is optimistic of getting the bhumiyar vote in this constituency along with a section of the Yadav votes.
The Janta Dal (U) candidate is relying upon a good base of Kurmi votes in the constituency along with its traditional support of EBC Mahadalits and a fewer Muslims.
Misa Yadav the RJD candidate is being considered as the strongest contender as the Yadavs, who form the highest number of electorates in the constituency might unite to vote for her in the aftermath of RJDs propaganda of Lalus victimization was because of his allegiance to the Yadav caste.
Read more here — http://www.thecitizen.in/bihar-votes-sans-modi-wave-all-parties-in-the-reckoning/