Would Hajipur shower its blessing on Modi’s ‘Hanuman’?

Shirag is locked in a straight fight with former state minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s trusted lieutenant Shiv Chandra Ram.
Shiv Chandra Ram (left) and Chirag Paswan
Shiv Chandra Ram (left) and Chirag PaswanIllustration | Mandar Pardikar

PATNA: For Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) chief Chirag Paswan, merely winning the Hajipur (SC) Lok Sabha seat his legendary father Ram Vilas Paswan held for decades, would be a disgrace. He wants to register victory with an eye-popping margin so as to establish himself as the political heir of the Ram Vilas legacy.

Chirag’s party is an ally of BJP-led NDA. He is locked in a straight fight with former state minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s trusted lieutenant Shiv Chandra Ram. Unlike in 2019 when he lost to Chirag’s uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras from this seat, Ram, 53, is posing a stiff challenge to Chirag, 41, this time around.

Chirag’s decision to shift from Jamui — which elected him twice to the Lok Sabha — to Hajipur put him on a collision course with Paras. Whether or not the sulking Paras would damage Chirag’s prospects remains to be seen.

“This time Chirag is set to create history by registering his victory by a record margin. He has his father’s legacy on the one hand and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s blessings on the other. Modi’s ‘Hanuman’ will be put to test in the true sense,” said Deoki Nandan Singh, 65, a resident of Bidupur in Vaishali district. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav had lampooned Chirag as Modi’s Hanuman recently.

At a recent rally, Modi had lavished praise on Chirag, saying he considers him his son. “Chirag is a true representative of Bihar, the future of Bihar. He is also a successful MP. If you vote for Chirag, it will directly go to Modi’s account,” the PM said.

Making a similar pitch, Tejashwi had told his party at a recent campaign address, “If you want to see me as chief minister, then ensure victory of Shiv Chandra Ram from Hajipur.” It was a clear message to RJD rank and file to rally around Ram.

If social activist Navneet Kumar’s opinion is anything to go by, people in general are discussing local issues but it is the caste factor that will overshadow everything.

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