Comprising of 24 Assembly seats, Saran region will play a decisive role in deciding who will ascend the throne of Bihar. The Mahagathbandhan constituents have lost their ground due to their infighting. Hence, it is now a fertile ground for the NDA.
Saran has shifted its interest from Litti-Chokha to the issues like Mid Day Meal Scheme due to which 23 children died on July 16, 2013. People came to streets to protest against the bad governance. No matter of caste and communities, the people of Chapra, Siwan and Gopalganj have developed great interests in education and modern developments in recent times. Still there is a massive need of development at the ground but at the social level, this region has achieved the synthesis after long experience of caste clashes, criminal politics, Naxal disturbances and false promises by the politicians. In Gopalganj, people have taken the agony of dacoit and naxal, Siwan has tested the days Mohammad Shahabuddin and Chapra has seen the huge promises of Lalu Yadav who ruled Bihar for 15 years and Railway Minister for five years. Many things based on his promises came into Chapra but nothing is working here to generate employments.
In a village of Garkha, 15 km away from Chapra, a new voter aged 19 years, Fekan Manjhi chewing Gutka and admitting that now it is enough; here all top leaders of Bihar and Bharat came and they made it our Chapra a central place of politics but no benefits reached to common people of this area. Really this is the region of Lalu Yadav, Rabri Devi, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Mohammad Shahabuddin, Om Prakash Yadav, Prabhunath Singh, Janardan Singh Sigriwal, Janak Ram, Sadhu Yadav, Kali Pandey and partially, Raghunatah Jha. These all leaders have been key factors of Bihar politics. Geographically, Gopalganj and Siwan have developed more proximity to Gorakhpur than Patna and Chapra came closer to Delhi than Patna. It is because of that fact that Patna in last 20 years has failed to resolve the issues of this region and always tried to make this region a battlefield of politics.
BJP had won 12 seats in 2010 and JD(U) 10 seats. Now it is very difficult to understand where there is a base of RJD-JD(U)-Congress. It is Rajput dominated region and BJP has all guns of this caste. In addition to this, extremely backward castes like Kanu, Kumhar, Bind, etc. have been always anti-Lalu and among OBCs, Kushwaha, Teli, Bania, etc. have strongly with BJP. Upper castes support coupled with the large chunk of OBC and ECB castes support are giving enough ammunition to counter the least consolidated support of Yadav, Kurmi and Muslim to Mahagathbandhan. Among Yadav, BJP has already created the leadership in this region like Omprakash Yadav. In this way, this region’s fourth phase election is going to witness high pitch political drama but certainly curtains will down with the victory of NDA, which is seen everywhere while visiting the villages of three districts though there is a little confusion found in the city area of Siwan and Gopalganj. However, in the city area of Chapra, there is full clarity of political affiliation and nothing left to predict.There are 24 Assembly seats in this region and 4 Parliamentary constituencies like Gopalganj, Maharajganj, Siwan and Chapra. All these Parliamentary constituencies are won by BJP in 2014 and BJP in alliance with JD (U) won 22 seats out of total 24 in 2010 Assembly election. Only two seats went to RJD but Rabri Devi was defeated by BJP in Sonepur constituency of Chapra with more than 20,000.
In 2010, BJP with JD(U) got 40.5 per cent vote share in this region, but in 2014, BJP with LJP got 43.7 per cent votes. RJD maintained its vote share whereas JD(U) had reached at superior low of 12.5 per cent vote share while in power at State.
In this upcoming Assembly elections, Lalu Yadav has not fielded Rabri Devi in his own political area of Chapra and he has sent his both sons to Vaishali districts. No family member of Lalu Yadav is now fighting in Chapra district, which is very unusual. But it’s pragmatic decision of Lalu Yadav, because he knows that it is very difficult to win in this region against NDA. BJP has given 19 tickets to its leaders till date and on one seat HAM has given ticket to Mahachandra Singh and on one seat LJP has fielded Kali Pandey. Still the challenges with NDA do not seem to be contained which is at the higher level because it is top politician area. Janardan Singh Sigriwal and Rajiv Pratap Rudy have to take the Rajput support base in Gopalganj and Siwan in coordinated way. The other challenge is to get the support of Harijan caste support and make full consolidation of Brahmin and Bhumihar supports because these two castes always tend to choose the ways against Rajputs. NDA needs to take senior leaders here to convert this support into votes.
(The writer is senior political analyst)