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Bihar Lok Sabha polls: Political fate of six party chiefs at stake

A disastrous or poor performance in the elections will, thus, obviously ruin their career and deny them the bargaining capacity in the Bihar Assembly elections scheduled next year. 

Manoj Chaurasia | Patna |

The Bihar Lok Sabha polls have turned quite interesting this time, with the heads of as many as six political parties throwing their hats in the ring. Of them, many have formed their parties only recently but managed to get a good number of seats under seat-sharing arrangements. A disastrous or poor performance in the elections will, thus, obviously ruin their career and deny them the bargaining capacity in the Bihar Assembly elections scheduled next year.

The first among them is former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha who heads the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), which was formed in March 2013. RLSP was a part of the NDA in the last LS polls but has now joined the six-party Grand Alliance formed to take on the BJP-led NDA.

The RLSP had won three out of three seats it was offered under the deal in the last polls but now it is contesting on five seats. Obviously, there is immense pressure on Kushwaha to repeat his performance again and prove his political mettle now that majority of party office bearers have dumped the RLSP to join either the JD-U or the BJP. The challenge Kushwaha faces is underlined from the fact that of the five seats allotted to the RLSP under the deal, he is contesting on two seats alone~ from Karakat in central Bihar and Ujiyarpur in north Bihar.

The RLSP chief will be facing JD-U leader Mahabali Singh in Karakat while in Ujiyarpur, he will be locked in a contest with state BJP president Nityanand Rai. “Both the NDA partners have left no stones unturned to destroy my party. Now I will be teaching a lesson to them in the poll arena,” Kushwaha earned.

The political fate of another politician at stake is Jitan Ram Manjhi, former Bihar chief minister who heads the Hindustani Avam Morcha (HAM). Although Manjhi contested the last LS polls but this is for the first time that his party will take the plunge in national politics. HAM as a part of the NDA had contested the last Assembly polls but put up a disastrous performance. Now, it is a part of the Grand Alliance and is contesting on three LS seats. Manjhi himself is contesting from Gaya, reserved for scheduled caste candidates. Manjhi formed his party in May 2015 soon after he was forcibly removed as chief minister by his successor Nitish Kumar.

Another political party taking the poll plunge is Vikashseel Insan Party (VIP) headed by Mukesh Sahani, a leader of fisherman community. The party which was launched in November last year is a part of the Opposition Grand Alliance and is contesting on three seats. This is also the maiden election for Sahni who is contesting from Khagaria seat.

Likewise, veteran socialist leader Sharad Yadav who heads the newly-formed Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) too is in poll fray from Madhepura LS seat. However, he has been ticket from the RJD with the condition that he will merge his party with the latter after elections. Muscle-flexing politician Pappu Yadav, on the other hand, is contesting the LS polls on the symbol of his newly-formed Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) after failing to get ticket from either the Congress or the RJD. Yadav had formed his party in May 2015 after being expelled from the RJD.

Yet another leader whose political fate is at stake is Pashupati Kumar Paras who is the state president of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) headed by Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan. For the past over four decades, Paswan had been contesting from Hajipur but now has left the seat for his younger brother Paras.