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NDA seat-sharing deal in Bihar makes no mention of 5 sitting BJP MPs

Patna | As many as five sitting BJP MPs in Bihar, where it had won 22 seats in the last Lok Sabha polls, may not get a chance to seek re-election from their respective constituencies, as per the arrangement between the NDA constituents announced here Sunday.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar‘s JD(U), which returned to the NDA less than two years ago, has succeeded in securing for itself both its seats of Nalanda and Purnea, besides getting five which were represented by the BJP in the outgoing Lok Sabha and another held by Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP.

Valmiki Nagar, Jhanjharpur, Gopalganj (SC), Siwan and Gaya (SC) all won by the BJP in 2014 have gone to the JD(U) this time. Both parties are contesting 17 seats each in the state, where the total number is 40.

The LJP, which is contesting six, retains Paswan’s Hajipur, his son Chirag’s Jamui and brother Ram Chandra Paswan’s Samastipur. It has forgone Munger represented by don-turned-politician Suraj Bhan Singh’s wife Veena Devi, who is expected to be fielded by the party from Nawada.

Nawada is represented by Union minister Giriraj Singh, who may be fielded from Begusarai, which was won by the BJP, but fell vacant in October last year, when the incumbent Bhola Singh died.

The party has retained both the Lok Sabha seats covering the state capital Pataliputra and Patna Sahib, the former represented by Union minister Ram Kripal Yadav, while in the latter, the BJP is likely to replace actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha with some other candidate.

The names which have been doing the rounds for Patna Sahib – a BJP stronghold – include Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rajya Sabha member R K Sinha and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.

The BJP has also retained for itself Darbhanga, which was won by former cricketer Kirti Azad, who joined the Congress recently.

Another seat where the saffron party would have to find a new face is Madhubani, as Hukum Dev Narayan Yadav has announced his retirement from active politics.

Most of the Muslim-dominated seats in the Seemanchal region along the state’s border with West Bengal Kishanganj, Katihar, Madhepura and Purnea – have gone to the JD(U), which has some following among the minorities.

However, the BJP has kept Araria, a pocket borough of deceased RJD strongman Taslimuddin, who had won the seat five years ago by a huge margin, and whose son Sarfaraz retained the same last year in the by-election that followed his father’s death, despite the NDA getting bolstered with Nitish Kumar’s return.

Another BJP stronghold that has been given away to the JD(U) is Bhagalpur. The saffron party had lost it in 2014 with a margin of less than 10,000 votes.

Falling in a communally-sensitive district south of the Ganges, it has been represented by the party’s Muslim face Syed Shahnawaz Husain twice. It has also been the home turf of former union minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey, who may have to seek re-election from Buxar.

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