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Bihar polls second phase: From seat to seat in Gaya, the RSS effort

In Gurua, the BJP replaced sitting legislator Surindra Sinha with Rajiv Nandan, who is from Tikari.

bihar, bihar polls, bihar polls second phase, gaya, bihar gaya, gaya voters, buddhist voters, gaya rss, rss, rss leaders,  Bodh Gaya, bihar latest news, elections news Bodhgaya: Buddhist monks of Mahabodhi temple wait in a queue to cast their vote during the second phase of Bihar assembly elections of Bihar on Friday. (Source: PTI)

In its stronghold of Gaya, whose constituencies voted Friday, the RSS stretched itself over the last few days hoping to offset any damage caused by “good caste management” of the maha gathbandhan.

RSS’s kshetra sampark pramukh (region contact head) for Bihar and Jharkhand Anil Thakur and  Bihar prant pracharak Ramnavami Prasad and Vibhag Pracharak who heads the organisations activities in Gaya, Shergathi, Jehanabad and Arwal, Umesh Kumar held long meetings in Gurua and Bodh Gaya to help consolidate the support for BJP.

“The focus on this last-minute intervention by the senior leadership was to help resolve problems on the ground,” an RSS activist said. “At most places the BJP cannot solve problems by itself, so the RSS intervenes. BJP  workers respect and listen to RSS leaders.”

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He explained the problems: “At many places, some karyakarta were upset that the candidate was ignoring them. For example, in Bodh Gaya, such karyakarta were told to think of the party and not the candidate. They were told they needn’t go to the candidate. Instead, vehicles were arranged for them separately.”

In Gurua, the BJP replaced sitting legislator Surindra Sinha with Rajiv Nandan, who is from Tikari. This was to pitch a Dangi against the JD(U)’s Dangi candidate, Ramchandra Prasad Singh. The Dangi community was given EBC status by the JD(U) government. “We tried to wean away as many Dangi votes as we could. It has been a difficult,” the RSS activist said. The NCP has fielded a Pathan Muslim, Anwar Ali Khan, and the BJP is hopeful he will cut into Singh’s vote.

In Sherghati, minister Vinod Prasad Yadav faced HAM’s Mukesh Kumar a.k.a. Krishna Yadav. For BJP, the problem comes from Manju Agarwal, an independent. She has been associated with Durga Vahini and has support within the Sangh vote bank. The RSS effort here was to prevent a division in the Sangh vote.

In Wazirganj, BJP MLA Birendra Singh and Congress’s Awadesh Kumar Singh  are both strong Rajput candidates but there is anti-incumbency against the MLA. “Sonia Gandhi and Rajnath Singhji had meetings the same day and it was worrying to see more people in the Congress sabha,” the RSS activist said.

In Atri, Kunti Devi of RJD is the wife of Rajinder Yadav, a local Bahubali, who is currently in jail. The JD(U) MLA, Krishan Nandan Yadav, is now contesting from Pappu Yadav’s party. This can split the Yadav vote. The LJP’s Arvind Singh is a Rajput. But with popular local mukhiya  Darvesh Singh contesting independently, the Sangh fears he may cut into their vote. They are banking on the criminal background of Kunti Devi’s husband working against her.

Barachatti marks a battle of Musahar families. The RJD’s Samata Devi is is the daughter of former Gaya MP Baghwati Devi. Sudha Devi of the LJP is the daughter-in-law of current MP Hari Manjhi (BJP). The sitting MLA is the JD(U)’s Jyoti Manjhi, whose daughter is married to Jiitan Ram Manjhi’s son. Jyoti had stuck with Nitish when Jitan Ram rebelled. Now that she has been denied the ticket, she too has rebelled. The RSS is hopeful this will strengthen Jitan Ram’s hand and the LJP candidate. But 10 of the 11 candidates are Musahars.

In Bela, HAM’s Sharim Ali has fought RJD strongman Surendra Yadav. Ali is the only Muslim candidate fielded by either alliance in Magadh region. “The maha gathbandhan hasn’t given a ticket to a single Muslim in Magadh and they claim they have cent percent Muslim vote,” Sharim Ali said. “RSS is working very hard to make me win.” No leader from BJP or even Jitan Manjhi, however, came to campaign for him. “This wasn’t done purposely,” Ali said.
Bodh Gaya is a worry for BJP. Its MLA Shyamdeo Paswan faces anti-incumbency especially because alleged bribery in a hand-pump project. “It is a wrong accusation. Chapa kal were being installed by a contractor,” Paswan said. The RSS’s top leadership is at work here.

In Imamganj, the battle is Manjhi versus assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary. Manjhi is banking on anti-incumbency, the Mahadalit vote and a section of the Muslim vote. He has striven to dispel the view in Imamganj that he will surrender Imamganj if he wins Makdumpur too.