After logging a high voter turnout, amid the pandemic, in the first phase of Bihar Assembly Election 2020, the state is all set to witness the second phase. Phase 2 will cover 94 assembly seats in 17 districts is likely to decide the electoral fate of Janata Dal (United) [JD(U)]-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) – the key contenders.
Today, the RJD would be contesting for 56 seats, the BJP for 46 and the JD(U) for 43.
The Congress has pitched candidates in 24 constituencies while the three Left parties are in the fray for 14 seats. The NDA ally Vikasheel Insaan Party (VIP) will be contesting 5 seats out of total 11 seats allotted to them.
Out of the 56 seats, RJD candidates will be locked in direct contest with BJP nominees in 28 seats, while on 24 seats they will be taking on JD(U) candidates. Congress candidates will be contesting 12 seats each against the JD(U) and BJP nominees. The VIP candidates, in this phase poll, are pitched against RJD candidates on all 5 seats.
The 17 districts going for poll today include: West Champaran, East Champaran, Sheohar, Sitamarhi, Madhubani, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Gopalganj, Siwan, Saran, Vaishali, Samastipur, Begusarai, Khagaria, Bhagalpur, Nalanda and Patna.
Maharajganj constituency has the maximum number of 27 candidates in this phase, while the minimum four are from Darauli constituency (SC).
According to the Election Commission (EC), more than 2.85 crore voters will decide the electoral fate of 1,463 candidates — 1316 male, 146 female and one transgender person. As per the poll panel data, out of nearly 3 crore voters, 1.5 crore are male, 1.3 crore female and 980 transgender.
The EC said it has set up a total of 41,362 booths at 18,823 polling stations.
Here are the Key candidates whose fates will be decided in the second phase of the Bihar Assembly Election 2020:
Tejashwi Yadav vs Satish Kumar vs Rakesh Roshan
Tejashwi Yadav in this second phase of election will be contesting in Raghopur in Vaishali districts. The chief ministerial face of the Grand Alliance, is seeking re-election from this seat, where he won the poll in electoral politics in 2015. Tejashwi’s main rival is Satish Kumar of the BJP, who had defeated former chief minister and his mother Rabri Devi from the same seat in the 2010 polls and but lost to RJD’s stronghold in 2015 election.
As RJD’s CM nominee and anointed successor of Lalu Prasad, Tejashwi might appear safe, however locals says it won’t be a cakewalk for him. Satish Kumar is canvassing against the leader of the opposition for neglecting his constituency and doing little on the development front, a critical agenda of the BJP in the polls.
The poll permutation and combination of both the RJD and BJP has experienced a setback due to the Lok Janshakti Party’s (LJP) bid to field Rakesh Roshan, a Rajput by caste, who is posing a challenge of dividing the crucial Rajput votes.
The tough triangular contest could throw a surprise result.
Tej Pratap Yadav and Rajkumar Rai
The elder son of Lalu Prasad and brother of Tejashwi Yadav, Tej Pratap Yadav is the candidate of RJD fighting the Bihar assembly from the Hasanpur constituency this year. Tej Pratap has moved out of his constituency Mahua in Vaishali district to Yadav-dominated Hasanpur in Samastipur and is locked in a tough battle against two-time sitting MLA Rajkumar Rai of JD(U).
The other rivals include Janadhikar Party (JAP) of former Madhepura MP and an influential Yadav politician Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav has also fielded his candidate Arjun Yadav from the seat. LJP has not fielded any candidate on the seat, which could help Tej Pratap.
Nitin Nabin vs Luv Sinha
Among the total 22 candidates, Congress leader and actor Shatrughan Sinha’s son Luv Sinha, who is fighting his first election from Bankipur seat in Patna is looked upon.
Luv is up against sitting BJP MLA Nitin Nabin. Incumbent Nitin Nabin is aiming a third term from the seat and has been the head of the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) till recently and is now appointed as the party’s in charge for Sikkim.
This years election saw two new faces in Bankipur Pushpam Priya (33), is the daughter of the JD(U) leader Vinod Chaudhary and an LSE graduate, who has floated The Plurals Party, a newly formed entity. Manish Barriarr (44), an Oxford University alumnus and academician is also in the race. He is contesting as an Independent candidate.
Gulab Yadav Vs Nitish Mishra
An intense competition will be witnessed between the sitting RJD MLA Gulab Yadav will be facing BJP’s candidate Nitish Mishra in the Jhanjharpur assembly constituency that falls in the Madhubani district. Nitish is the vice president of the BJP’s Bihar unit and the son of Jagannath Mishra who served as the chief minister three times. His strong political background is expected to help him.
It’s of little surprise that the leading contenders are all Yadavs in the Maner. The RJD has fielded the two-time sitting MLA Bhai Virendra Yadav while the BJP ticket is with Nikhil Anand, another Yadav who left his 17 years of journalist career before he joined the party. He is the state BJP spokesperson and close confidant of Union minister of state Nityanand Rai.
Making it a three-way contest is Shrikant Nirala Yadav, a BJP rebel who is fighting as an independent after being refused the party ticket. Nirala is no pushover as he is a three-time MLA of Maner, having first won the constituency under various parties tickets.
Amit Bhushan vs Kundan Singh
Sitting MLA Amita Bhushan and the BJP’s Kundan Singh will contest for the Begusarai assembly constituency. The CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar, former JNU students’ union president, competed in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 from Begusarai. Kundan Singh of BJP is notably one of the wealthiest candidates from the seats going to the polls in the second phase.
Raju Tiwari vs Brajesh Kumar vs Sunil Mani Tiwari
The Govindganj will witness a triangular fight between sitting MLA and the LJP’s Raju Tiwari, Congress leader Brajesh Kumar and Sunil Mani Tiwari of BJP. The seat is very crucial for BJP as the last time they won this seat was 10 years ago.
Haranut (Nalanda) constituency, which houses Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s village, is also going to vote in this phase. JD(U) lawmaker and Rural Development Minister Sharvan Kumar and Ram Sewak Singh, of JD (U), are contesting from Nalanda and Hathua, respectively.
Meanwhile, Congress has fielded Gunjan Patel in Nalanda against Kumar. In Hathua RJD’s nominee Rajesh Kushwaha and JD(U) leader and state minister Ramsevak Singh will compete.
Other notable candidates include:
BJP leader and Road Construction Minister Nand Kishore Yadav (Patna Sahib), BJP MLA and Cooperative Minister Rana Randhir Singh (Madhuban).
Also in the fray is Chandrika Roy (JDU), the father of Tej Pratap Yadavs estranged wife Aishwarya Rai, who in her campaign has been highlighting the alleged “ill-treatment” meted out to her by RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s family. This phase is also very crucial for Chirag Paswan- led LJP, which has fielded 52 candidates.
LJP’s performance in this phase will show if the issues raised by Paswan during his campaign — corruption charges against Nitish Kumar, lack of proper facility for education, lack of jobs, and migration for livelihood — found resonance among the people.
The third phase of election is slated on November 7 following by announcement of results on November 10.