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Triangular contest expected in Rupauli Assembly bypoll

© Provided by The Rahnuma Daily

Triangular contest expected in Rupauli Assembly bypoll

Patna, July 8 (IANS) The Rupauli assembly bye-election in Bihar’s Purnea has become a notable political battle with three significant candidates vying for the seat.

The seat became vacant after Bima Bharti resigned to contest the Lok Sabha election from Purnea, which she lost. Now, Bharti is contesting the assembly bye-poll on a RJD ticket, having been elected as a JD (U) candidate in the 2020 assembly poll.

The JD (U) has fielded Kaladhar Mandal as their candidate and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has actively campaigned for him, with BJP leaders also offering their support. Additionally, Shankar Singh, a former MLA of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) who was associated with the LJPRV, is running as an independent candidate after being denied a ticket by Chirag Paswan.

“I sought a ticket from Chirag Paswan but he told me that the seat has been allocated to the JD (U) under the alliance. Consequently, I decided to contest independently from this seat. I am confident of winning this seat,” Singh said

The dynamics of this election are shaped by these key players and their respective political strategies and alliances.

During a rally on July 6, Nitish Kumar stated, “We have given the identity to Bima Bharti and she left our party to become a MP. No one knew her before.”

Bima Bharti refuted his claim highlighting that she won her first assembly election as an independent candidate in 2000.

“As the Chief Minister of Bihar, he should not lie and mislead people. I do not need anyone’s help. I know my strength. The people of Rupauli and Purnea are my strength. Nitish Kumar should not mislead the people that he has given me an identity,” Bharti said.

Bima Bharti is campaigning vigorously, having also sought support from MP Pappu Yadav. Interestingly, Bharti and Pappu Yadav were rivals in the recent Lok Sabha election where the RJD nominated Bharti by obstructing Yadav’s ticket. Yadav won the contest while Bharti came third.

Bima Bharti’s political journey began as an independent candidate in 2000. She won from Rupauli and since then, she has been elected five times while associated with the JD (U) and the RJD.

Purnea district, where Rupauli is located, is noted for its politics involving musclemen (Bahubali leaders). Bima Bharti’s husband, Awadhesh Mandal, is a Bahubali leader with numerous criminal cases, and his influence is said to have played a significant role in Bharti’s repeated electoral successes in Rupauli. Now, another Bahubali leader, Shankar Singh, is contesting as an independent candidate from the same seat, with a history of rivalry with Awadhesh Mandal.

The caste equations in Rupauli are crucial. RJD candidate Bima Bharti is banking on support from Muslims, Yadavs, and Nishads, along with votes from her own caste. JD (U) candidate Kaladhar Mandal, also from the Gangota caste (categorized under EBC), aims to secure votes from the extremely backward classes. Both Bharti and Mandal’s shared caste background adds another layer of competition, while Singh’s Rajput identity is likely to attract upper caste voters.

 

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