| BJP leaders, including Nand Kishore Yadav (with microphone) and Sushil Kumar Modi (left), take part in a dharna organised by BJP Ati Pichhra Manch at Kargil Chowk in Patna on Thursday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
Patna, July 31: The BJP today announced its candidates for the nine Assembly seats of the 10 going to the bypolls on August 21, sparing one for LJP and none for the RLSP a day after the JDU, RJD and Congress struck a “grand secular alliance”.
The party, apparently, has acted like a proverbial “big brother” shedding the generosity that it had showed towards the Union ministers — Ram Vilas Paswan and Upendra Kushwaha’s outfits during the general election.
The BJP’s “magnanimity” attracted Paswan’s LJP and Kushwaha’s RLSP for they got seven and three seats in their share, respectively, before the Lok Sabha polls. The two parties did exceedingly well also as the LJP won six of seven and RLSP bagged all the three seats in its share. In terms of strike rate, the two NDA allies even outperformed the BJP, which won 24 of the 30 Lok Sabha seats it had contested.
The nine candidates of the BJP are — Rashmi Verma (Narkatiaganj), Ramprit Paswan (Rajnagar), Ramniwas Prasad (Jale), Kanhaiya Singh (Chhapra), Awadhesh Kumar (Hajipur), Rajesh Singh (Mohiuddin Nagar), Nabhay Choudhary (Bhagalpur), Ramnarayan Mandal (Banka) and Niranjan Ram (Mohania). The LJP has declared Suheli Mehta as its candidate for Pabatta seat that the BJP has spared.
Though the LJP and RLSP leaders, who were reportedly clamouring for at least two to three seats each in their by-election share, restrained from openly attacking the BJP’s “unilateral” decision to keep nine of 10 seats in its kitty, the RLSP cadres described it as “unjustified”.
“There is no logic for the BJP to deny due shares to the party of Union minister of state for rural development, Upendra Kushwaha, who tilted the backward Kushwaha votes towards the BJP. It is in black and white the RLSP had won all the three seats in its share,” said an RLSP leader on condition of unanimity.
Against the BJP-led NDA, which, apparently finds a crack in the “rock solid” unity that it displayed during the Lok Sabha polls, Nitish Kumar’s JDU and Lalu Prasad’s RJD, which fought bitterly against each other in that polls, have closed their ranks sharing four seats each and accommodating the Congress too with two seats in the latter’s kitty.
Though it is still early, the observers believe that the BJP might not find it easy to retain its 2010 tally in the ensuing by-election. It had won six out of the 10 seats in company of Nitish’s JDU. Even the insiders in the party in course of private conversation admitted that the BJP would be “bereft” of at least three factors that played pivotal role in its phenomenal victory in the state during the general election.
First, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had his charisma working well. But it will be missing from the scene.
Second, the national issues, including price rise and corruption creating a strong anti-incumbency situation against the Congress-led UPA in office then, might not be of much use to the BJP in the August 21 by-election.
Lastly, the voters of the state were believed to be “enamored” by Modi’s loud promises like “special package, special assistance, special attention” to Bihar, setting up a chain of agro-based industries between Vaishali and Muzaffarpur and between Purnea and Kishanganj and drastically bringing down the prices of essential commodities.
The promises do not look like materialising after Modi’s two months in office.
Apart from these factors what are likely to decide the fate of the candidates in the by-election are the predominance of the local issues, caste equations and individual might and popularity of the candidates more than other considerations. At social levels, the BJP might not enjoy the confusion among the Muslims constituting over 16 per cent of the state’s voters.