BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi has been making spirited efforts to win over Yadav votes in Bihar. But in the Kosi belt of the state, which is known as Yadav land, the BJP has hardly made efforts to reach out to the caste and in place is banking on winning over Bihar CM Nitish Kumar’s core constituency of extremely backward castes (EBCs) to make inroad in the area where it has traditionally been weak.
With seven LS seats on stake, the Kosi belt seems to be witnessing a keen triangular contest with no clear trend in sight for a particular party. This part of Bihar, which is most backward, was ravaged by the Kosi floods a few years ago. The backwardness of the area could also be gauged from the fact that youth from here mostly migrate to urban centres in other states for jobs.
Out of the seven Lok Sabha seats, the Lalu Prasad led RJD-Congress alliance seems in strong contention in five of the constituencies. The RJD seems strongly placed in Madhepura, Araria and Khagaria Lok Sabha seats, while the Congress appears to have its best chances in Supaul and Kishanganj constituencies. The BJP appears to be hopeful of retaining Purnea and Katihar Lok Sabha seats.
“The Kosi belt is predominately Yadav majority area along with strong base of EBC followed by upper castes and Muslims. The RJD seems gaining from the Muslim-Yadav consolidation, while the EBC vote is set for a split between the BJP and JD(U). The BJP could make a strong fight in some of the constituencies by polarising upper castes, vaishyas and a few of the castes among the EBC,” said Prof. Ram Naresh Singh of Saharsa.
In Supaul, the contest appears to be between Congress nominee Ranjeet Ranjan, wife of Rajesh Ranjan, alias Pappu Yadav, and BJP’s Kameshwar Choupal, who is hoping to win from here with the support of the Kewat caste, which is largest there.
In Araria, Hindus and Muslims are in the ratio of 60:40 and RJD’s Md Taslimuddin seems to be a favourite, as BJP nominee Pradeep Singh appears trailing due to a split in EBC vote base.
In Purnea, BJP’s Uday Singh, who had won in 2009, is locked in a keen battle, as a rebel candidate from the party, Santosh Kushwaha, could damage his prospect.
In Katihar, BJP’s Nikhil Choudhary is in a straight fight with NCP’s Tariq Anwar. In Kishanganj Congress’ sitting MP Asrarul Haque appears to be in a comfortable position as Muslims, who account for over 65 per cent of the population, backing him against BJP’s Dileep Jaiswal.
Courtesy: The Asian Age