The battle for upcoming Lok Sabha polls has become interesting as in NDA alliance in Bihar, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal-United (JDU) may have a headlock for Valmiki Nagar parliamentary seat. It is considered to be an important seat. This constituency came into existence in 2008, following delimitation of the parliamentary constituencies based on the recommendations of the Delimitation Commission of India constituted in 2002.
Valmiki Nagar constituency comprises the following six assembly segments- Valmiki Nagar, Ramnagar, Narkatiaganj, Bagaha, Lauriya and Sikta.
Satish Chandra Dubey of the BJP is the sitting MP who defeated the nearest rival of Congress, Purnmasi Ram by a huge margin of more than 1 lakh votes. Interestingly, in 2009 JDU’s Baidyanath Prasad Mahto won this seat. On this seat, JDU may lay claim but as it remains an upper caste dominated region, BJP would resist leaving it.
Fielding an upper caste candidate has indirectly helped the saffron party in past to consolidate upper caste support for Bettiah and Motihari seats which are its stronghold. Dr Sanjay Jaiswal from Bettiah (West Champaran) and Radha Mohan Singh from Motihari (East Champaran) both heavyweight of the BJP were victorious on respective seats.
On anonymity, a BJP leader said- The BJP has no option. It has to sacrifice its five to six MPs to give JDU equal number of seats and in that Valmiki Nagar is one such seat. BJP is likely to have two contenders for Valmiki Nagar- one is sitting MP, Satish Chandra Dubey and the other is R.S.Pandey, the MLA from Bagaha. R. S. Pandey is a retired petroleum secretary and is known for carrying out social work including putting up health camps in the region.
From Mahagathbandhan, Congress may lay claim as its candidate Purnmasi Ram was the runner-up in 2014 but the name of Bar Council of India’s Chairman, Manan Kumar Mishra is also making rounds. In summary, it can be said that Valmiki Nagar seat will not be an easy seat for BJP and JDU to decide before 2019 polls.