Sushil Kumar Modi
Sushil Kumar Modi
PTI File Photo

Patna

There is admission of trust deficit between NDA partners BJP and JD-U in the ongoing assembly poll by Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi. Addressing a poll rally at Pirpainti in Bhagalpur district, Sushil Modi alleged Ajay Mandal, the JD-U MP from Bhagalpur, was working against Rohit Pandey, the BJP candidate.

Modi used the election campaign platform to charge the JD-U MP with sabotaging the campaign of the BJP candidate and helping Aman Paswan, an independent. The Deputy CM, the BJP star campaigner, regretted the JD-U MP was not following the coalition dharma and attempting to defeat the BJP candidate. He reminded Mandal that during his election to Lok Sabha last year, BJP workers had actively campaigned for the JD-U candidate. Mandal is engaged in creating confusion among the electorate.

Modi warned Ajay Mandal, “You must remember, there will be the Lok Sabha election a few years later and the BJP workers would not work for you.”

He alleged Mandal was on a leisure trip to Goa and Mumbai and never did any development in his constitutency.

The Deputy CM alleged Mandal took money to campaign against the NDA candidate. However, Mandal denied the allegation, saying some misleading information has been passed on to Modi.

Problem started when Modi did not find Mandal on the dais at Pirpainti. He had received complaints against Mandal and from the stage he telephoned him and questioning his absence, he openly criticised the JD-U MP.

Aman Paswan, the independent candidate from Pirpainti, was also an aspirant for a BJP ticket, but was denied. Instead, Pandey was nominated. Mandal asked his supporters to help Aman, it is alleged. One of his supporters, Chandan Kumar claimed he was asked to support Aman.

Ajay Mandal was a 3-term MLA from Nathnagar in Bhagalpur before being nominated as an NDA candidate for Lok Sabha last year. Senior BJP leaders from Bhagalpur are also absent from the campaign. Syed Shahnawaj Hussain, who was an MP from Bhagalpur, is away in Delhi after he reported sick.

Arjit Sarsat Chaubey, who had unsuccessfully contested the 2015 assembly poll and was a strong contender for the BJP ticket, is also not active. Arijit was arrested last year for the Durga Puja violence. The CM and the Deputy CM had reportedly opposed his candidature, claiming the junior Chaubey was a hardliner. His father Ashwini Kumar Chaubey is union minister of state for health and family welfare.

The BJP campaign is being led by an outsider of Bhagalpur, Nishikant Dubey, a BJP MP from Godda in Jharkhand, is campaigning for the BJP candidate here and telling the electorate Pandey was his nominee. According to reports from several constitutencies in Shahabad region, there was complete lack of trust between the leaders of the two allies and they actively worked against the official nominees. The BJP has expelled 40 such rebel leaders.

Tejashwi at Patna
Tejashwi at Patna
Chirag at Begusarai
Chirag at Begusarai

Phase 2 campaign ends

Patna: Campaigning for the second phase ended on Sunday evening, setting the stage for polling on Tuesday in 94 constituencies spread across 17 districts. The last day of campaigning witnessed hectic canvassing with PM Modi addressing 4 back-to-back rallies in support of NDA candidates, and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, who is also in the fray in this phase, criss-crossing over a dozen venues.

According to the Election Commission, over 2.85 crore voters will decide the electoral fate of 1,463 candidates — 1,316 male, 146 female and one transgender. Of the total 2,85,50,285 voters, 1,50,33,034 are male, 1,35,16,271 female and 980 transgender, as per the poll panel data. The EC has set up 41,362 booths at 18,823 polling stations. Maharajganj constituency has the maximum 27 candidates, while the minimum 4 are from Darauli constituency (SC).

The 94 constituencies which are going to poll on November 3 are in 17 districts: West Champaran, East Champaran, Sheohar, Sitamarhi, Madhubani, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Gopalganj, Siwan, Saran, Vaishali, Samastipur, Begusarai, Khagaria, Bhagalpur, Nalanda and Patna. The BJP's charge was led by PM Modi, who addressed 7 rallies over 2 days, including the 4 on Sunday. Several Union ministers including Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani, Giriraj Singh and Anurag Thakur, besides senior party leaders such as BJP chief JP Nadda addressed campaign rallies.

Tejashwi scaled up the intensity of his campaign and addressed close to a dozen, or even more, rallies. He kept his focus on his promise of 10 lakh jobs, also assailing Nitish Kumar over a record "46.6% unemployment", poor status of education and health facilities, the handling of the coronavirus crisis among other things.

With massive crowds thronging the rallies, Covid-19 guidelines on social distancing were flagrantly violated. Tejashwi’s elder brother Tej Pratap is also in the fray in this phase.

Among other prominent faces whose fate would be sealed in EVMs are: BJP leader and road construction minister Nand Kishore Yadav (Patna Sahib), JD-U lawmaker and rural development minister Shrawan Kumar (Nalanda), BJP MLA and cooperative minister Rana Randhir Singh (Madhuban), and JD-U leader and state minister Ramsevak Singh (Hathua). Also in the fray is Chandrika Roy (JD-U), the father of Tej Yadav’s estranged wife Aishwarya Rai.

This phase is also crucial for Chirag Paswan-led LJP, which has fielded 52 candidates.

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