The NDA is under heavy pressures to put up a good show in the last round of the Bihar polling with the fate of as many as four Union ministers at stake.
The pressures on the NDA can be gauged from the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi held as many as three election rallies in a gap of barely two days while BJP president Amit Shah had to hold a roadshow in Patna.
A total of eight LS seats go to polls in the final phase. In the last LS polls, seven of the eight LS seats had gone to the NDA while one seat was won by JD-U which was not a part of the NDA then.
The NDA then comprised BJP, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). Now the political situation has undergone a complete change. While the RLSP has quit the NDA to be a part of the Opposition Grand Alliance, the JD-U which went it alone in the last elections has now returned to the NDA.
So the contest is tough this time. The problem for the NDA is that the fight is straight on most of the seats which has become a thing of worry for the candidates as that prevents split in secular votes. Of all, the battle for Patna Sahib and Patliputra has become the issue of more prestige.
The BJP has continued winning the Patna Sahib seat since it came into existence in 2009. However, a curious twist in the contest is that actor turned politician Shatrughan Sinha who helped the party win on both the occasions in 2009 and 2014 has now quit the BJP and is contesting as the Grand Alliance-backed Congress candidate.
Sinha is locked in a direct fight with the BJP candidate and union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who has never contested any polls in the past.
The BJP has to prove now Shatrughan Sinha was able to win the seat because of the party support, not due to his own popularity.
The contest for Patliputra is also prestigious for the BJP where the union minister Ram Kripal Yadav is locked in keen contest RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti, a Rajya Sabha member.
The prestige involved in this seat is underlined from the fact that top politicians from both the coalitions have held rallies in support of respective candidates.
While PM Modi held a rally for Ram Kripal, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi addressed a rally for Misa. The contest is equally interesting in the remaining six seats.
In Buxar, the main fight is between Union minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey and RJD think-tank Jagadanad Singh, considered very close to Lalu Prasad while on neighbouring Ara seat, this has boiled down to a direct contest between BJP minister RK Singh and CPI-ML candidate Raju Yadav.
Similarly, in Sasaram the contest is straight between Congress candidate Meira Kumar and BJP leader Chhedi Paswan while in Karakat, RLSP candidate Upendra Kushwaha is locked in a straight contest with JD-U leader Mahabali Singh.
Again in Nalanda, the home district of chief minister Nitish Kumar, the contest is straight between JD-U leader Kaushlendra Kumar and HAM candidate Ashok Azad while in Jehanabad, the RJD candidate Surendra Prasad Yadav is locked in a triangular contest with JD-U candidate Chandeshwar Prasad Chandravansi and rebel RLSP candidate Arun Kumar.