If the Daraunda Assembly bypoll on October 13 is a high-stakes battle for the RJD,reeling under a thrashing defeat in the last Assembly elections,it is no less than a war for the family of JD(U) candidate Kavita Singh.
And her husband,Ajay Singh,has already proved that everything is fair in war by marrying her last month during the inauspicious pitrapaksha just to retain the seat,once held by his mother,the late JD(U) Daraunda MLA Jagmato Devi. She had first won the seat as an Independent in the 2005 Assembly elections,and retained it as a JD(U) nominee in the 2005 and 2010 Assembly elections.
Devi died three months ago,and the JD(U) denied ticket to her muscleman son Ajay who is facing several criminal cases. It is then that Ajay hurried up with his marriage plans to retain the family bastion. Everything is fair in trying to maintain rajdharma, he says.
In the rival camp,RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav,senior party leader and former Maharajganj MP Prabhunath Singh and supporters of incarcerated former Siwan RJD MP Mohammed Sahabuddin are doing their best to batter the JD(U) prospects.
Lalu and Prabhunath,a prominent Rajput leader of the region who had left the JD(U) before the 2010 Assembly polls,have been camping in Siwan,holding meetings,chaupals and doing road shows,telling people how law and order have worsened under the present dispensation. When there used to be law and order problems in Siwan under the RJD regime,you would gherao the SP and DM and even public representatives, Lalu told a public meeting recently. Are you not suffering on poor law and order count under the Nitish rule now?
Sahabuddins Islampur farmhouse has turned into the nodal office for RJD workers. The jailed leaders supporters are campaigning for RJD candidate Parmeshwar Singh,a Rajput leader who contested the 2010 Assembly election unsuccessfully from the same constituency. JD(U) nominee Kavita is also a Rajput.
Congress candidate Kalika Sharan Singh,a prominent Bhumihar leader and former state Congress vice-president,is trying his luck in this direct clash between the RJD and JD(U). The Assembly segment is dominated by Rajputs,followed by Yadavas and Muslims.
As for the NDA,while JD(U) president Sharad Yadav has already campaigned he talked about development and the improved law and order under the Nitish rule and reminded voters of the reign of terror during Sahabuddins time as the RJDs Siwan MP other senior NDA leaders including Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi canvassed support for the JD(U) candidate. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is scheduled to campaign at Daraunda on Monday.
While the contest may see the JD(U) add another MLA to its tally of 116,it could be one last chance for Lalu,Prabhunath and Sahabuddin to show they are still politically relevant in Bihar,say political observers.