April 16, 2009 1:22:11 am
As campaigning for the first phase of polling in 13 Bihar constituencies stopped at 5 pm on Tuesday,223 candidates including 21 women stay put at their poll turfs waiting for the D-day.
RJD chief and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad (Saran),JD(U)s Prabhunath Singh (Maharajganj),the Congresss Meira Kumar (Sasaram) and Nikhil Kumar (Aurangabad) and RJD minister at Centre Kanti Singh (Karakat) and A B Vajpayees man from Buxar Lalmuni Choubey anxiously wait for polling day,hoping for the best.
It is as much a battle of prestige and retention of clout for convicted musclemen Mohammed Shahabuddin (RJD) and Surajbhan (LJP) who have got their wives Hina Sahab from Siwan and Veena Devi from Nawada in the fray. The LJPs strong arm Rama Singh pitted opposite JD(U)s Mina Singh at Ara also fancies his chances with RJD-LJP alliance making the battle keenly contested.
The key opponents are BJP Saran candidate Rajiv Pratap Rudy,former Bihar minister Jagdanand Singh at Buxar and former minister and BJP candidate Munilal at Sasaram.
Lalu Prasads intensive campaigning at Saran showed that he was not going to have a cakewalk this time. With Nitish Kumar also drawing good crowd at Chhapra,Lalu has reasons to worry. The RJD supremo still banks on his traditional Muslim and Yadav voters. It is true that Rudy has never defeated Lalu but the RJD boss did lose from here in 1980 and 1984.
Meira Kumar and Nikhil Kumar face a tough battle of keeping the honour of the withering Congress in Bihar. Prabhunath Singh may sail through,while sitting Buxar MP Lalmuni Choubey has a tough fight from Jagdanand Singh. Hina Sahab looks favourite in Siwan while Vina Devi is neck and neck with BJPs Bhola Singh in Nawada.
There is a triangular contest in Jehanabad between RJD,JD(U) and the Congress. New Jamui reserved seat sees a direct clash between RJDs Shyam Rajak and JD(U)s Bhudeo Choudhary who looks to have a slight edge because of Nitish Kumars development undercurrent.
Kanti Singh faces a tough challenge from party rebel and JD(U) candidate Mahabali Singh.
The Election Commission has asked for heavy security arrangements in Naxal-hit areas of Aurangabad,Jehanabad,Gaya and Nawada following an attack by the rebels at a BSF camp in Rohtas in the early hours of Wednesday. Bihar Election Commission spokesperson Vijay Shukla said: Of the 19,330 polling booths,3,201 are sensitive. The number of voters for the first phase in 13 constituencies is 1,76,53,425 including 81,51,598 women.
13 Constituencies Bihar,phase-i
Candidates to watch out for
• Lalu Prasad (RJD)
• Prabhunath Singh (JD-U)
• Meira Kumar (Cong)
• Kanti Singh (RJD)
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