The Telegraph
Wednesday , April 16 , 2014
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Campaign for round-II ends, over to voters

Police today staged a flag march in the city as the campaigning drew to a close in seven parliamentary seats going to polls on Friday.

The second phase of the general election in the state is virtually the “VVIP round”, wherein the stakes of all the three combinations are high. The seats going to polls are the high profile Patna Sahib, Pataliputra, Nalanda, Ara, Munger, Buxar and Jehanabad.

The stakes for the RJD chief, Lalu Prasad, are high in this round as he has pitted his daughter Misa Bharti from the Pataliputra parliamentary seat at the cost of his long-time associate Ram Kripal Yadav. On the last day of campaigning, Misa took out a road show. Lalu held public meetings in Danapur and Punpun taking potshots at the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

“The sins of Gujarat cannot be washed away in Kashi (Varanasi),” Lalu said. He also took a passing dig at chief minister Nitish Kumar for promoting communal forces in Bihar. Lalu dubbed the media as “sold”, referring to the opinion polls.

JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav also levelled the same charge on the media in Jehanabad.

Nitish, on the other hand, concentrated on Patna Sahib and Pataliputra constituencies. He asked people to vote for the development work done by him in the state. He cautioned the people about the “old days” returning to Bihar if his party was defeated.

The NDA leaders were also busy in campaigning.

There has been a shift in the strategy of the political parties in the second round. The RJD focused its attack on the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi. The JD(U) and Nitish came in for just fleeting reference.

The JD(U) reminded the electorate about the return of the jungle raj (lawlessness) if it loses. The BJP has been sharp in reacting that it was more capable of stopping the return of Lalu than the JD(U).

While Lalu has to ensure the victory of Misa, Nitish Kumar has to ensure that his citadel Nalanda is not breached. He also has high stakes at Munger where his close aide Lallan Singh is contesting. The BJP has to ensure that Patna Sahib, which its leaders prefer to describe as Bihar BJP’s Amethi, remains its bastion despite the unpopularity of its sitting MP Shatrughan Sinha. The BJP also has high stakes at Ara, where former Union home secretary R.K. Singh is contesting.

Incidentally, as the campaigning for the second phase of polls in the state ended, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, addressed public meetings in Bhagalpur and Araria, which would go to polls in the third round.

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