|HOME | NEWS | ELECTIONS '98 | REPORT|
|February 14, 1998|
BJP challenges Laloo's hold over Bihar's capital city
A keen contest is on the cards in Patna where Ramkripal Yadav (Rashtriya Janata Dal) is trying to retain his Lok Sabha seat. He won as a Janata Dal nominee in 1996.
Although there are 18 candidates in the fray, the main contest is likely to be between Yadav and BJP nominee Dr C P Thakur. The polling will take place on Monday.
In the last election, Yadav defeated BJP nominee Dr S N Arya by 39,000 votes.
Thakur contested the 1995 assembly election on a Congress ticket, when he lost to the CPI's Ramnath Yadav by 336 votes.
Patna constituency is dominated by Kayasthas, followed by Yadavs, Kurmi and Bhumihars.
Janata Dal MLA from Kanti segment in Muzaffarpur district, Mufti Mohammad Quasim, the CPI-ML's Saroj Choubey, the Samajwadi Party's Ajit Kumar, the other candidates in the fray, are expected to cut into the votes of the frontrunners.
Electioneering has been lacklustre, with only Atal Bihari Vajpayee addressing a gathering at the historic Gandhi Maidan. The leaders of other political groups have focussed their campaign in the rural belt.
National issues have taken a back seat and the voters are more concerned about the city's awful roads, crippled drainage system, poor drinking water supply, transport and civic amenities.
Patna comprises six assembly segments of Patna West, Patna Central, Patna East, Danapur, Phulwari and Vikram. The last two are represented by the non-BJP parties while the rest are with the BJP.
The four BJP MLAs are Navin Kishore Prasad Sinha (Patna West), Sushil Kumar Modi (Patna Central), Nand Kishore Yadav (Patna East) and Vijay Kumar Yadav (Danapur). While the others are Bihar minister of state for energy and RJD member Shyam Rajak (Phulwari) and the CPI's Vijay Kumar Yadav (Vikram).
While Dr Thakur expresses confidence that the electorate will be given a free hand to choose their candidate, Ramkripal Yadav rebutted as "baseless the allegation that the RJD is bent on creating violence and influence voting".
A total of 14,73,322 voters are eligible to cast their votes in 1,874 polling booths in Patna. Of the booths, 556 have been declared hypersensitive and 988 sensitive. Over 10,000 polling staff and a large contingent of security personnel will be deployed to ensure a peaceful free and fair election, returning officer Amir Subhani said.
In 1991, the election was countermanded due to some irregularities. Inder Kumar Gujral (Janata Dal) and Yaswant Sinha (BJP) were then in the fray.
The BJP's Shailendra Nath Srivastava won the 1989 election, defeating C P Thakur, who had won the Patna Lok Sabha seat on a Congress ticket in 1984. Ramavatar Shastri (CPI) represented the constituency in 1980 and BLD candidate Mahamaya Prasad Sinha won it in the 1977 Janata Party wave.
INFOTECH | TRAVEL | LIFE/STYLE | FREEDOM | FEEDBACK