Updated: October 30, 2021 10:13:15 am
Assembly bye-elections are scheduled at Tarapur (Munger) and Kusheshwar Sthan (Darbhanga) in Bihar on October 30. The bypolls were necessitated by the deaths of MLAs Shashi Bhushan Hazari (Kusheshwar Sthan) and Mewalal Choudhary (Tarapur), both from the JD(U).
The results will not have an immediate impact on the numbers in the House; however, they will likely have a bearing on the wider political situation in the state, where the NDA led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has a small majority.
The NDA has 126 MLAs in the House of 243, four more than the majority mark of 122. The government is supported by former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) and EBC Mallah leader Mukesh Sahani’s Vikasshil Insaan Party (VIP), that have four MLAs each.
The opposition RJD, Congress, and Left have 110 seats among themselves. With 75 MLAs, the RJD is the single largest party in the House.
If Nitish’s party loses both seats, the RJD will be in an improved position to play mind games. Both HAM(S) and VIP are often seen as political parties with wavering allegiances, and the RJD could try to work on Manjhi and Sahani to destabilise the government.
The RJD has snapped ties with its Grand Alliance partner Congress for these bye-elections, as it senses it has a good chance of improving its House tally. The AIMIM has five MLAs.
In Tarapur, the RJD, which lost in 2020 by 7,500 votes, has fielded an OBC Baniya candidate, Arun Kumar Sah, hoping to split the core Baniya vote of the NDA, while retaining its own Yadav-Muslim vote.
The JD (U), which has been winning the seat for the last 20 years because of its social combination and development plank, has fielded Rajiv Kumar Singh, an OBC Kushwaha leader.
The Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) has fielded Chandan Singh, an upper caste Rajput; the Congress has fielded Rajesh Mishra, a Brahmin candidate.
Upper caste and Baniya votes could prove to be the deciding factor in Tarapur.
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In Kusheshwar Sthan, the JD(U) has fielded the deceased MLA Shashi Bhushan Hazari’s son Aman Hazari, hoping for a sympathy vote.
The Congress has fielded Atirek Kumar, son of former Congress MLA Ashok Ram, who had lost in 2020 by a narrow margin of 7,000 votes. The RJD has fielded Ganesh Bharti.
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