April 11, 2009 11:27:14 am
Twenty-one candidates are in the fray in Nawada. The main contest is between Veena Devi,wife of convicted LJP politician Surajbhan,and Bhola Singh,the BJP candidate who is a minister in the Nitish Kumar Government. Apart from these two,theres also Sunila Devi of the Congress,CPI(M)s Ganesh Shankar Vidhyarthi and two influential Independents,Raj
Bhallabh Prasad (RJD rebel) and Kaushal Yadav (Independent MLA from Govindpur).
The constituency has been de-reserved after the delimitation process. The upper caste Bhumihars have over 5 lakh population,followed by 2.5 lakh Yadavs and another 2.5 lakh Muslims. Of the total 13.68 lakh voters,the Scheduled Caste (4.35 lakh) might emerge as the deciding factor in this election. While it is understood that Bhumihars will choose from the three main candidates,Bhola Singh,Veena Devi and Sunila Devi,the Yadavs,in all probability,will support either Raj Bhallabh or Kaushal.
Sources say RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav fielded Kaushal to divide Yadav votes after RJD rebel Raj Bhallabh decided to contest as an Independent. Kaushal and his wife Purnima,Independent MLAs from Govindpur and Nawada,respectively,are together a cause of worry for the key contestants.
While Bhola Singh has been gathering crowds with his chaste Hindi speeches,LJP strongman and Balia MP Surajbhan,convicted in the 1992 Rami Singh murder case,is gathering support for his wife. Veena Devi rarely speaks to the voters and prefers to stand with her hands folded.
On Wednesday,Surajbhan was questioned by the police in connection with the murder of a supporter of an Independent candidate.
Rampravesh Kumar of Katni village says caste and development are the main issues in this election.
Shekhodeora village,under Kaukol,has 4,500 SC and OBC voters. Most among them are clear that the key issue is development. Munna Kumar,who runs a coaching institute for class eight and nine students at Kaukol market,says,After the Nawada-Kaukol Road was constructed last year,a large number of girls started coming to the coaching institute. He adds that development is the only issue for voters here.
Kuldip Singh,a farmer,says,We have had enough of caste politics. We will choose someone who gives us basic amenities.
Nawada voters are also debating on the insider versus outsider issue. Veena Devi is from Mokama,Bhola Singh is from Begusarai,while Raj Bhallabh and Kaushal are local residents.
Election analyst Saibal Gupta says,Nawada is like Siwan in many ways. In the past,Surajbhan and Mohammed Shahabuddin have won elections. But things have changed now.
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