Bihar: 95.11 lakh people to vote for 80 candidates across 5 LS seats in phase 5

Patna, May 19 (PTI) Voting will take place across five Lok Sabha seats of Bihar, all currently held by the BJP-led NDA, on Monday when over 95 lakh voters will decide the fate of 80 candidates.

The seats going to polls in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha polls are Muzaffarpur, Madhubani, Sitamarhi, Saran and reserved constituency of Hajipur.

Hajipur has the highest number of 19.67 voters and the primary contest there is between NDA partner Chirag Paswan, whose late father Ram Vilas Paswan had won the seat eight times, and RJD’s Shiv Chandra Ram, a former MLA and ex-minister in the state.

Sitting MP Pashupati Kumar Paras, a former Union minister and estranged uncle of Paswan, has stayed out of the contest while pledging support to the NDA.

The adjoining seat of Saran is witnessing a high-profile fight between RJD debutant Rohini Acharya, daughter of party president Lalu Prasad, and former Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy, the sitting MP who has won the constituency for BJP several times.

In Muzaffarpur, sitting MP Ajay Nishad is contesting on a Congress ticket, having quit the BJP which refused to back him for a third consecutive term. The BJP has fielded Raj Bhushan Chaudhary, a political greenhorn who was the runner up in 2019 when he contested on the ticket of Vikassheel Insan Party (VIP).

Founded and headed by former Bihar minister Mukesh Sahni, the VIP is part of opposition alliance in Bihar which includes Congress, RJD and three Left parties.

Interestingly, Muzaffarpur also has the highest number of 26 candidates including Sudhir Kumar Ojha, a local advocate who remains in news for his petitions against top political figures, Bollywood stars and even foreign heads of state.

Madhubani is a seat the BJP has been winning on the trot since 2009. Sitting MP Ashok Yadav made his debut in 2019, from the seat his father Hukum Dev Narayan Yadav had won many times. Ashok Yadav had defeated his VIP rival by more than 4.50 lakh votes, the highest margin for any seat in Bihar that year. His re-election bid faces a daunting challenge from the RJD, which has given ticket to Mohd Ali Ashraf Fatmi, a former Union minister who had won adjoining Darbhanga seat many times.

Sitamarhi is currently held by JD(U) but the party headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has dropped sitting MP Sunil Kumar Pintu. The seat is now being contested by Devesh Chandra Thakur, the Chairman of the state legislative council who belongs to the eponymous district. The RJD has reposed trust in Arjun Roy, who lost to Pintu by about 2.5 lakh votes but had bagged the seat in 2009, contesting on a JD(U) ticket.

Among the 80 candidates trying their luck in the fifth phase, six are females. Women voters in the five seats are 45.11 lakh, out of a total number of 95.11 lakh.More than 21 lakh voters are under 29 years of age with 1.26 lakh in the age group of 18-19 years.

Voting will take place at 9,436 booths out of which more than 8,000 fall in rural areas.

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