April 14, 2009 10:48:01 pm
Sasaram’s sitting Congress MP Meira Kumar faces the toughest political battle this time for holding on to the legacy of her father Jagjivan Ram,who represented the reserved constituency from 1962 to 1984.
Meira,a minister at the Centre,did have a cakewalk in 2004 when the Congress had an alliance with a strong RJD. She had defeated the BJPs Munilal,a retired IAS officer,by more than 2.5 lakh votes.
But times are different now with the RJD vowing to get the Congress out on zero in Bihar. It has fielded Lallan Paswan and the BSP has Azad Gandhi in the fray.
BSP chief Mayawati drawing a huge crowd at Sasaram (bordering UP) recently is also an ominous sign for Meira. The BSP has an MLA from Bhabhua under Sasaram. In the 1990 Assembly polls,the BSP had won Chaipur and Mohania seats.
BJP candidate Munilal,who was a minister in the A B Vajpayee Cabinet,looks to have a slight edge over other candidates with voters talking about a resurgent Bihar under the present NDA rule and his past victories in 1996,1998 and 1999 elections. NDA prime ministerial candidate L K Advani also campaigned for Munilal in Sasaram on Friday.
Sasaram,the land of Shershah Suri,is caught between Babujis daughter Meira,positive vote for Nitish Kumar,local RJD boy Lallan Paswan and an emerging BSP. There are 16 candidates in the fray. The constituency has 13,49,667 votes. Of it,4,49,333 people are Scheduled Caste (18.13 per cent). There are 2.5 lakh Muslim and as many Yadav voters.
Of six Assembly segments of Mohania,Bhabhua,Chainpur,Chenari (SC),Sasaram and Karahgarh,Meira looks to have an edge in Mohania and Bhabhua. The BJP has a base in Karahgarh,Sasaram and Chenari. The RJD has an edge in Chainpur.
Besides the SC votes,the BJP is also banking on businessmen (10 per cent),Kurmi (4 per cent),Brahmin (6 per cent),Rajput (7 per cent) and Kayastha-Bhumihar (7 per cent) votes.
Alok Kumar,a Sasaram resident,said local issues important trains not stopping at Sasaram,Durgawati water project not coming up after 35 years of its inauguration and resentment against Meira for not visiting the constituency frequently would play in the elections. He said: She never came out of her fathers shadow and functioned more like a bureaucrat than an accessible politician.
But Mohania residents are all for performing minister Meira,who got a bridge constructed last year at Basahi.
RJD candidate Lallan Paswan,a JD(U) Chenari MLA,rebelled to try his luck at becoming an MP. Hailing from Sasaram,he has branded Meira Kumar (from Ara) and Munilal (from Jehanabad) as outsiders. This apart,he is banking on RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadavs Muslim-Yadav votes.
BSP candidate Azad Gandhi looks all set to play a spoiler for others by making a dent into the Dalit votes. He believes that Mayawati has been slowly making inroads into Sasaram. But at the end of the day,it looks like a direct clash between the Congress and BJP.
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