Biharsharif: After the scrutiny of nomination papers, sitting JD(U) MP Kaushlendra Kumar, who is seeking a second term, Congress’s Ashish Ranjan Sinha, LJP’s Satyanand Sharma and AAP’s Pranav Prakash are among the 27 candidates left in the fray in Nalanda parliamentary constituency. The constituency is going to polls on April 17.
Congress nominee Ashish Ranjan Sinha, a former DGP, who has roots in Nalanda district but hardly has any public contacts and is almost a novice for the residents of the district, is facing resistance from his own partymen as youth Congress leaders backed by some of the senior party leaders openly opposed his candidature. He is also believed to be a candidate taken as ‘loan’ from RJD. Incidentally, Sinha has better rapport with RJD than the Congress workers.
A section of RJD leaders, aggrieved over allotment of Nalanda seat to Congress under RJD-Congress- NCP alliance are less enthusiastic about his candidature. The scenario is not much different in the NDA camp whose candidate Satyanand Sharma, an LJP candidate, not only carries an outsider’s tag but is considered a weak NDA candidate.
Unhappy over allotment of Nalanda seat to LJP and fielding a candidate without any support base in the district, a section of BJP leaders are dejected and to protest this a senior party leader Naresh Prasad Singh quit the party to contest as an Independent. Professor of history in a local college, Shahid Akbar Javedi, a poll analyst, said that under the circumstances, going for both the LJP and UPA is likely to be tough.
Physician Shyam Narayan said, “Caste equation aside, the unprecedented development work including a medical college, an engineering college, several ITIs, University of Nalanda, development of tourists spots, improved health care, education, law and order, electricity and infrastructure carried out in last few years are the real models of development.”
Terming Nalanda as Amethi of Bihar, Om Prakash Singh, a professor of economics in a local college, said Nalanda with its rich religio-cultural and historical traditions was blatantly neglected by all previous governments. Only CM Nitish Kumar gave it its rightful due. He added, “If the development of the district is evaluated in terms of growth rate then the growth rate of Nalanda will not be less than double of what it is for the state.”
Going by statistics, Nalanda Lok Sabha seat went to the candidates of Nitish Kumar’s choice since formation of NDA in 1996 and it is rightly said that Nalanda is a bastion of the CM. Former defence minister George Fernandes, who reluctantly contested from Nalanda in 1996, was the only lawmaker to have won thrice in a row after Siddeshwar Prasad of Congress who made a hat trick by winning in 1962,1967 and 1971 elections from here. George won in 1998 and 1999 by-elections too from here, said Zafar Ali Khan Rumi, a social activist. He added that Nalanda being the home district of CM, the elections here are Nitish vs others.
In 2004 elections when Nitish himself contested from Nalanda, the victory margin for him was over 1.25 lakh votes and in 2009 election when he handpicked a novice, the margin of victory was over 1.5 lakh votes and this indicates that people vote for Nitish in Nalanda.