Although the death of Union Minister and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Ram Vilas Paswan has generated a sympathy wave for the party, it would still be an uphill task for his son Chirag Paswan to convert the votes into results in the Bihar Assembly election that kicks off on Wednesday.
In the areas surrounding Vaishali, the party may face tough challenge from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
The voters in the region believe that it will be triangular fight in some of the constituencies in Vaishali district having 8 assembly constituencies, including two reserve seats for Scheduled Caste candidates.
“These 8 seats will decide the fate of three heavyweight leaders — Chirag Paswan, Tejashwi Yadav and Nityanand Rai of Bihar in assembly election 2020,” said Ashok Singh, a resident of Sendhuari in Hajipur assembly constituency.
Nityanand Rai was elected in 2000, 2005 and 2010 as an MLA from Hajipur assembly constituency. Due to his successful poll outings, the party has given him tickets in Lok Sabha from adjoining Ujiyarpur constituency in 2014 and 2019, and both the times he won the elections.
“Rai is a sub-caste of Yadav which has a sizeable number in the assembly constituencies such as Hajipur, Lalganj, Mahua, and Mahanar apart from upper castes voters who are dedicated BJP followers. Such a combination has made it a winning formula for NDA over the years,” Singh said.
“This was the only reason why late Ram Vilas Paswan was so successful here. He has lost just one parliamentary election in 2009 in his long political career and he was elected again in 2014. At present, his younger brother Pashupati Kumar Paras is a sitting MP,” said Radhe Shyam Gupta, a local resident of Hajipur.
He further said that the election of Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha is completely different.
The voters generally vote for the candidate and national issues in Lok Sabha election. When it comes to Vidhan Sabha, they vote for the parties of alliances keeping in view their local issues would be addressed.
Vaishali is also known for being a stronghold of RJD leader Lalu Prasad. Raghopur assembly constituency belongs to his family. In 2015, Tejashwi Yadav was elected from here and he again filed nomination from the same seat in 2020. Besides, his elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav was also elected from Mahua seat in 2015.
“The situation is evenly poised in the region, with anyone set to gain. NDA is facing anti incumbency in Bihar and it is expected to reflect in Vaishali as well. Chirag Paswan is on the right side of sympathy votes. Besides, he also has eyes on traditional vote banks of Dalits,” Kavita Chaudhary, a local social worker who is closely monitoring all election-related developments in Vaishali, said.