Even as Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar tried to strike an emotional chord by calling it his “last” election, NDA is facing its toughest test in the third and final round of polls in Seemanchal (Kishanganj, Araria, Katihar and Purnia), Kosi (Supaul, Saharsa and Madhepura), Mithila (Darbhanga and Madhubani) and Tirhut (Muzaffarpur and Sitamarhi) regions on 78 seats.
While the Seemanchal belt gives a clear advantage to the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance), Asaduddin’s Owasi’s AIMIM, contesting on 16 seats in this round, may cut into Grand Alliance’s votes and could win one to two seats. NDA also faces a tough fight in Purnia, Araria and Katihar.
That Seemanchal is a stronghold of the Grand Alliance can be understood from being its savour in 2010 Assembly polls in which Nitish-led NDA had won 206 of 243 Bihar seat.
In the Kosi belt too, the Grand Alliance looks ahead with only NDA veterans such as ministers, Bijendra Prasad Yadav (Supaul) and Narendra Narayan Yadav (Alamganj) looking good to retain their bastions. JD(U)’s Madhepura nominee and grandson of former CM BP Mandal, Nikhil Mandal is facing a contest.
On Saharsa seat, former MP and wife of incarcerated former MP Anand Mohan, Lovely Anand is a strong RJD contender. EBC Mallah leader Mukesh Sahni is also finding it tough against RJD in Simri Bakhtiyarpur seat. Socialist leader Sharad Yadav’s daughter Suhasini Raj is doing well as a Congress nominee from Bihariganj seat of Madhepura. It is an altogether different thing that the socialist stalwart, who vehemently opposed Congress almost throughout his political career, came to a full circle with his daughter joining Congress.
Other top contenders in this round are former minister and senior RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui (Keoti), Lalu Prasad’s close aide Bhola Yadav (Hayaghat), BJP leader Sanjay Saraogi (Darbhanga), BJP minister Binod Narayan Jha from Benipatti, AIMIM Akhatarul Iman (Amour), veteran RJD leader and former minister Ramai Ram (Bochaha), BJP minister Suresh Sharma (Muzaffarpur), JD (U)’s Bima Bharati and Lesi Singh from Rupauli and Dhamdaha, respectively.
JD (U): 24
CPI (ML)- 1
2020/ Contesting 78
CPI (ML): 5
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