Bihar by-polls : 17 candidates in fray in 2 seats, Tej Pratap to support Cong in one


PTI, Oct 17, 2021, 10:08 AM IST

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Patna: Altogether 17 candidates are left in the fray for the by-election to Tarapur and Kusheshwar Asthan assembly seats in Bihar on the last date for withdrawal of nomination papers on Saturday, an official in the election office said.

The ruling NDA seeks to retain both the seats, which have fallen vacant after the death of their MLAs, faced with a feeble challenge put up by a scattered opposition.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), which had won both the seats in the assembly poll in 2020, has fielded candidates for Tarapur as well as the reserved Kusheshwar Asthan seats.

Tarapur MLA Mewa Lal Chaudhary had lost his life in the COVID surge earlier this year. JD(U)’s bid to retain the seat in the coming by-poll is being challenged by RJD’s Arun Kumar and Rajesh Mishra of the Congress.

In Kusheshwar Asthan, JD(U) has fielded Aman Bhushan Hazari, son of three-time MLA Shashi Bhushan Hazari whose death necessitated the by-poll. Congress has fielded Atirek Kumar, son of Ashok Ram who had fought on the party ticket in the assembly poll and had finished runner up. The RJD has fielded Ganesh Bharti.

Notably, the assembly polls were fought by the RJD and the Congress together. For the by-poll, RJD came out with an early announcement of candidates for both the seats much to the shock of the Congress, which was hoping to fight Kusheshwar Asthan with the support of its mightier ally.

However, RJD’s contention that the Congress “could not win” the seat, left the latter mortified and it decided to fight both constituencies in a frantic bid to shed the image of a spent force.

Left parties – CPI, CPI(M), and CPI(ML) – which had contested as part of the five-party Grand Alliance headed by RJD, have announced full support to Lalu Prasad’s party.

RJD, however, has its own share of woes in the form of Prasad’s elder son Tej Pratap Yadav who threw a fit when his name was omitted from the party’s list of star campaigners. He has now come up with the announcement that a parallel outfit run by him will support the Congress in Kusheshwar Asthan.

Queering the pitch for the major players in both seats would be Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas). The cornered son of late Ram Vilas Paswan will seek to prove a point.

Tarapur falls in Munger district but comes under the reserved Jamui Lok Sabha constituency which Chirag Paswan is representing for the second consecutive term.

On the other hand, Kushewshar Asthan, which falls in Darbhanga district, will put to test his ability to garner the sympathy of Dalits following the alleged “betrayal” by his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras who split the party founded by his legendary father and ended up getting a berth in the union cabinet.

Voting will take place for both seats on October 30. A high-voltage campaign is expected.

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, who will be spearheading the campaign by the party, has expressed hope that doctors in Delhi will permit Lalu Prasad, his father, to visit Bihar during the by-poll.

The Congress too is looking forward to a zingy campaign in the backdrop of the recent induction of Kanhaiya Kumar, who is often perceived as a potential rival of Tejashwi. He is expected to campaign for the party in both constituencies.

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