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Independent candidates pose challenges for NDA, Mahagathbandhan in Bihar 

By Neeraj Kumar

Patna, May 18: In the ongoing 2024 Lok Sabha elections, a number of Independent candidates have emerged as strong contenders, posing a challenge to the nominees of prominent political parties such as the RJD, BJP, and chief minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) in Bihar.

These Independent candidates are proving to be formidable opponents, challenging established party candidates and gaining significant public support.

In the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections, NDA candidates dominated the seats in Bihar, riding on the wave of popularity enjoyed by Narendra Modi. The NDA won 32 seats in 2014, which increased to 39 in 2019.

This time, the NDA, consisting of BJP, JD(U), LJP (Ram Vilas) and HAM (S), aims to secure victory in all 40 seats. However, certain Independent candidates are now posing a serious threat to both the NDA and the Mahagathbandhan, which includes the RJD, Congress, and Left parties as alliance partners.

Prominent Independent candidates include Pappu Yadav in Purnia, Binod Yadav and Gunjan Singh in Nawada, Heena Shahab and Jeevan Yadav in Siwan, Chokar Baba in Saran, Ashutosh Kumar in Jehanabad, Bhojpuri film star Pawan Singh in Karakat, former IPS officer Anand Mishra and Dadan Pahalwan in Buxar.

Pappu Yadav has made a strong presence in Purnia Lok Sabha seat. He gave tough challenge to both NDA and Mahagathbandhan.

In Nawada, Binod Yadav created problems for RJD candidate Shravan Kushwaha, while Gunjan Singh posed challenge for NDA candidate Vivek Thakur.

Hina Sahab

Siwan Lok Sabha seat is also giving headache to NDA and Mahagathbandhan. Strongman Shahabuddin’s wife Hina Shahab and Jeevan Yadav are in the poll fray as Independent candidates from the constituency. NDA has fielded Vijayalakshmi. Awadh Bihari Chaudhary is in the fray from Mahagathbandhan.

Buxar Lok Sabha seat has also become an arena for Independent candidates. In total, 27 Independent candidates are in the fray. The BJP has fielded Mithilesh Tiwari. Sudhakar Singh is the RJD nominee. The presence of former IPS officer Anand Mishra in the fray has increased BJP’s worries. He claims to be a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and many BJP workers are roaming with him. Former minister Dadan Pehalwan, who has also filed nomination papers, is posing threat to Sudhakar Singh.

Jehanabad Lok Sabha seat has the maximum number of Independent candidates. Chandeshwar Chandravanshi is the candidate from NDA, while the RJD has fielded former minister Surendra Yadav. As an Independent candidate, Ashutosh Kumar is spoiling the game of both the candidate.

Pawan Singh

The Karakat Lok Sabha seat remains a hot seat in Bihar. Former CPI-ML legislator Rajaram has been fielded by the Mahagatbandhan. Former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha is in the fray as NDA candidate. Bhopuri film actor Pawan Singh is contesting the election as an Independent candidate. He is spoiling the game of both the candidates with the support he is getting from all sections of society.

RJD spokesperson Ejaz Ahmed has accused the ruling party of strategically using Independent candidates. However, he remains confident that RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav’s policies will secure victory for the Mahagathbandhan.

BJP spokesperson Prem Ranjan Patel insists that the Modi wave remains strong and Independent candidates will not succeed, predicting victory for the NDA candidates in all 40 seats.

Senior journalist Praveen Bagi says Independent candidates are presenting a tough challenge in several constituencies, with anti-incumbency factors playing a significant role. Discontent with the current MPs is leading voters to consider Independent candidates as viable alternatives, he says.

Bihar sends 40 members to the Lok Sabha and 19 constituencies have already voted in the ongoing elections in four phases held between April 19 and May 13. Sitamarhi, Madhubani, Muzaffarpur, Saran and Hajipur are the five Lok Sabha constituencies of Bihar which will go to polls in the fifth phase on May 20. The state, along with Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, is voting in all seven phases of the Lok Sabha elections.

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