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  • Split of Yadav Votes Could be Decisive in Electoral Battle of Yadav Vs Yadav at Banka

Split of Yadav Votes Could be Decisive in Electoral Battle of Yadav Vs Yadav at Banka

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By Avijit Biswas

Banka/Bhagalpur: Otherwise, a relatively nondescript constituency compared to other constituencies of this region, the Banka parliamentary seat had been electoral battle ground of number political stalwarts in past.

Prominent among them include noted socialist leaders Madhu Limaye and George Fernandes, Raj Narayan, former minister in Morarji Desai government, Chandrasekhar Singh former chief minister of Bihar beside Digvijay Singh former minister in Chandrasekhar and Atal Behari Vajpayee government.

Of the above-mentioned names all barring George Fernandes and Raj Narayan had represented the seat. Election here in past used to draw keen interest of people as well as political observers due to presence of political leaders of high stature.

Quite a number of those who had represented this seat previously had played significant roles in framing political narrative of country in poll arena. Though leaders of past whose presence in electoral fray used to make battle of ballots here highly interesting are no more however the election here this time is not going to be less interesting.

Chandan River in Banka
Chandan River in Banka<br >Photo Sandeep Tiwari

 The result of this constituency going to poll in second phase would be particularly significant for JD (U) in retaining party stronghold in this region. Of the total five constituencies of state namely Bhagalpur, Katihar, Purnia, Kishanganj and Banka located in this region where polling would be held in second phase barring Kishanganj all other constituencies are presently represented by JD (U).

Hence in second phase elections much would be in stake for JD (U) so far retaining its political hegemony in this region is concerned. As per local political observers if JD (U) can wrest this seat this time it would significantly contribute in retaining party hold in this region.

The electoral battle lines have become clear in this constituency it is likely JD (U) and RJD would be locked in straight contest. Total seven candidates are in fray here this time. While JD (U) has reposed faith in sitting MP of party Girdhari Yadav the RJD has nominated Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav, a trusted associate of Lalu Prasad who had represented this parliamentary constituency previously.

Chandan River in Banka<br >Photo Sandeep Tiwari

In previous general election also Girdhari Yadav and Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav were respectively JD (U) and RJD candidates. Both candidates of major political parties belonging to Yadav community the extent of split of community votes in favour of either of the candidates could be key to success for the candidates, it is largely felt.

Comprised by Amarpur, Katoria, Dhoriya, Belhar, Banka and sultanganj assembly segments, in this parliamentary constituency there is sizeable Yadav population apart from Muslim, Rajput, Koeri, Brahmins, Scheduled Tribe and other caste groups.

Earlier a subdivision of Bhagalpur district, Banka was accorded status of separate district in February, 1991. Majority portion of parliamentary seat is comprised by area of the district. Banka an aspirational district here sizeable population depends on agriculture for livelihood. Considered to be rice bowl of this region, paddy cultivation is taken up in vast stretch of land adjoining river Chandan passing through the district. However, at present all is not well here in agriculture front.

Agricultural Land Banka Photo Sandeep Tiwari

Sachidanand Tiwary, president of Banka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said because of huge sand mining in Chandan, the river has lost its irrigational potential with passage of time. As a result, there has been serious adverse effect on agricultural production in vast expanse of land on both side of river, he added.

Tiwary felt in absence of desired political initiative no serious measures have been taken for comprehensive development of the area. The piecemeal developmental works have failed to fulfill aspirations of people, he was of the opinion. However, chamber president said the unfulfilled aspirations of people it is unlikely would influence poll outcome.

 With both JD (U) and RJD candidates have represented this seat, people of the constituency are aware about their respective style of functioning, Tiwary added. He said it is primarily caste and communal line polarization of pro and anti-Modi votes that would decide result of election here.

 In 2019 general election JD (U) had secured 47.98% of total votes while RJD had received 27.84% of total votes. Putul Kumari wife of late Digvijay Singh, who had contested as independent candidate in last election had registered 10.42% vote share in her favour.

 Late Digvijay Singh, a former union minister it is largely considered had contributed significantly in development of Banka particularly in ensuring place for Banka in railway map of the country. Presence of his widow besides some other strong candidates in fray, the contest was multi cornered here last time.

 As per local political activists in likely straight contest this time, possibility of slender vote margin deciding poll outcome cannot be ruled out totally. Girdhari Yadav, the sitting MP of JD (U) had won the seat for the first time in 1996 as Janata Dal candidate and as RJD candidate in 2004. Subsequently in 2019 he was elected from the seat as JD (U) candidate. Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav had been elected from the seat in 2014 as RJD candidate.  

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  • Writer Avijit Biswas, former principal correspondent of Hindustan Times Bhagalpur bureau, can be contacted at biswasavijit@yahoo.comContact number (mobile): +919431095516


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