Even as Congress failed to get West Champaran or Madhubani in exchange of Valmiki Nagar, RJD leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, who was accompanied by leaders from alliance partners, on Friday, announced seats and candidates, minus some seats. No senior Congress leader was present during the announcement. Tejashwi, however, clarified that Congress’ central unit had cleared the list.
RJD has gone back to its tested combination of Muslim-Yadav (MY) by fielding eight Yadavs, including Sharad Yadav from Madhepura, Misa Bharati from Pataliputra and former minister and Tej Pratap Yadav’s father-in-law Chandrika Rai from Saran, and fielding three Muslims, including former minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui from Darbhanga — a seat Congress badly wanted for Kirti Azad. RJD, which is contesting on 19 seats, has not announced candidate for Sheohar seat.
RJD has also given tickets to the kin of three of its convicted leaders. While it had announced candidature of Vibha Devi, wife of rape-convict Nawada MLA Rajbabh Yadav, it has given ticket to Hina Shahab, wife of another convicted leader Mohammed Shahabuddin, for the third time.
It has also fielded Randhir Singh from Maharajganj. Singh is son of former MP Prabhunath Singh, convicted in a murder case. Besides Randhir Singh (an upper caste Rajput), two other upper caste Rajputs in RJD list are its predictable choices — former minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh from Vaishali and former MP Jagdanand Singh from Vaishali. It has retained candidatures of its sitting MPs Jaiprakash Narayan Yadav from Banka, Mohammed Sarfaraz Alam from Araria and Bulo Mandal from Bhagalpur. It has also predictably fielded former MP and Sharad Yadav aide Arjun Rai from Sitamarhi and Tanvir Hasan from Begusarai opposite BJP’s Giriraj Singh and CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar.
CPI-ML (Liberation) has fielded Raju Yadav from Ara against BJP’s RK Singh.
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RJD has pitted its Dalit leader and former minister Shivchandra Ram against LJP candidate Pashupati Kumar Paras from Hajipur. It would be a battle of prestige for LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan to win the traditional seat. It has fielded Surendra Ram from the reserved seat of Gopalganj, Gulab Yadav from Jhanjharpur and Surendra Yadav from Jehanabad.
Congress, which is still hurt at not getting West Champaran or Madhubani in place of Valmiki Nagar, has fielded Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar from Sasaram, sitting MP Ranjeet Ranjan from Supual and Ashok Ram from Samastipur.
Congress also seems to have succumbed to pressure from its Rajya Sabha MP Akhilesh Singh to give Munger seat to Nilam Devi, wife of controversial Mokama Independent MLA Anant Singh. Singh had been lobbying hard for the last two months for a ticket from Munger and had also gathered a crowd for party president Rahul Gandhi’s rally in Patna in February.
The party has not announced a candidate for Patna Saheb as Shatrughan Sinha would formally join Congress on April 6. It is also waiting to announce a candidate for Valmiki Nagar.
While RLSP has announced its candidate only for Jamui of its five seats, Vilasshil Insaan Party chief Mukesh Sahni has announced his candidature from Khagaria and Rajbhushan Choudhary Nishad from Muzaffarpur. He has not yet announced a candidate from Madhubani.
Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular), which had already announced candidature of former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi from Gaya and Upendra Prasad from Aurangabad, announced Ashok Azad Chandravanshi as its Nalanda candidate.
The Grand Alliance has offered a balanced mix of EBC, OBC and Dalits besides RJD’s focus area of M-Y combination.