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All roads lead to Narkatiaganj

Narkatiaganj, Aug. 18: The JDU-RJD-Congress alliance and NDA candidates have scorched the poll pitch here with one more day of campaign left.

RJD leader Lalu Prasad and JDU leader Nitish Kumar campaigned here on Sunday and NDA leaders Ram Vilas Paswan, Upendra Kushwaha, Nand Kishore Yadav and C.P. Thakur on Monday. Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi is to address a public meeting on Tuesday.

Narkatiaganj, 280km northwest of Patna, faces bypolls with nine other seats on August 21. The bypoll was necessitated after BJP MLA Satishchandra Dubey was elected to Lok Sabha from Valmikinagar parliamentary constituency.

Addressing a 5,000-strong crowd in Bhathadih on Tuesday, NDA leaders attacked the Lalu-Nitish alliance.

As the village has a sizeable Dalit and Mahadalit population, Paswan spoke of their pitiable condition. He said: “The JDU government had promised three decimals of land to every Mahadalit family but many are yet to receive it. Similarly, the radio scheme for Mahadalit families has turned out to be a big flop.” He attacked former chief minister Nitish Kumar, saying a cycle factory could have come up at Narkatiaganj with the money the state spent on a cycle scheme it keeps talking about.

On Lalu calling him a weathercock who switched sides at the drop of a hat, he asked him to explain his alliance with Nitish. Leader of opposition in state Assembly Nand Kishore Yadav said “Lalu and Nitish have joined hands as they have independently failed to stop the Modi wave.”

Minister of state for rural development Upendra Kushwaha said: “Workers should not treat these bypolls as simple elections. These are a trailer to the 2015 elections.”

The main contest here is between BJP candidate Reshmi Verma and JDU-RJD-backed Congress’s Fakruddin Khan. Reshmi, a philosophy graduate from Miranda House, joined the BJP two months ago. She jumped into active politics after the death of her husband Alok Prasad Verma two years ago. Alok had contested on a Congress ticket but lost to Satishchandra Dubey in 2010 .

In Chhapra, Union minister for information and communication and law Ravi Shankar Prasad held a road show and addressed roadside meetings at several places.


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