For all pre-election mudslinging over ticket distribution, most of the Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar are witnessing a lacklustre election campaign as political parties have put up weak or inexperienced candidates.
In the most prestigious Patna Saheb seat, the BJP has fielded film star Shatrughan Sinha for the second time despite strong anti-incumbency sentiments. The JD(U) and Congress too failed to put up a formidable candidate.
The JD(U)’s Gopal Prasad is a retired doctor and a first-timer in the election fray. Incidentally, he belongs to the same caste as Sinha – Kayasth. Another candidate, Kunal Singh, is a Bhojpuri film star of yesteryear. Even AAP candidate Parveen Amanullah is also facing opposition from within her party, as she was a minister in the Nitish Kumar government. The same is the case with Nalanda, once represented by stalwarts such as Nitish Kumar and George Fernandes. In the last Lok Sabha, it was represented by Kaushlendra, a little-known JU(U) leader. He is once again in the fray. Here too, the Congress had no strong candidate and had to field former DGP Ashish Ranjan Sinha. And the LJP has put up Satyanand Sharma, an outsider.
In Madhepura, the RJD put up Pappu Yadav against JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav. But the BJP has fielded Vijay Kumar Kushwaha, a newcomer who joined the party as recently as March 10. He is the husband of former minister Renu Kushwaha, till then considered too close to Nitish. Grapevine has it that the BJP deliberately put up a weak candidate to ensure the victory of Sharad who it feels is still soft towards the saffron party. Sharad’s presence in Parliament may be good for any post-poll understanding. In the Hajipur seat, Ram Vilas Paswan is fighting hard for a comeback. The JD(U) once again fielded the 93-year-old sitting MP, Ram Sundar Das. And the Congress has put up former MLA Sanjeev Toni.
So is the case with the Bhagalpur constituency, where senior BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain is taking on builder-turned-politician Abu Kaisar, who joined the JD(U)when the RJD preferred Bulo Mandal to him for the ticket.
The low-key campaign in some of the premier constituencies has made some political observers suspect “political match-fixing” by some senior leaders of different political parties.