As many 71 constituencies in Bihar will go to polls on Wednesday with nearly 2.14 crore voters deciding the fate of 1,066 candidates. Of these 71 seats, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United (JD-U) is contesting in 35 constituencies, followed by its ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that has fielded candidates in 29 seats. From the Opposition, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is contesting in 42 seats, while its coalition partner Congress has candidates contesting in 20 seats. Many of the constituencies will be keeping an eye on the trends emerging from a few key states in the state. News18 lists five important seats to look out for.
For the last 30 years, nobody has been able to breach this BJP fortress. Bihar’s Agriculture Minister Prem Kumar has won this seat six times in a row. So important is his stature in state politics, that he has been accommodated into the cabinet each time an NDA government was sworn into power. This seat will be a litmus test of BJP’s popularity in the region.
This is the hometown of JD(U)’s Minister of Department of Science and Technology, Jai Kumar Singh. He has won from here twice and is now looking for a hat-trick. Fighting against him on a Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) ticket is BJP rebel Rajendra Singh. Singh, who lost the last election by just 2,600 votes, is a former vice-president of BJP’s Bihar unit.
Of the 12 times that the Congress has won this seat, the party’s Bihar unit chief Sadanand Singh has been declared winner nine times — between 1967 and 2015. In 2015, he defeated his nearest rival, LJP’s Niraj Kumar, by over 20,000 votes. Singh is so popular here that he managed to hold on to the seat even in the 1977 elections when the Congress was routed from large parts of Bihar and the country.
This is the constituency from where local strongman and MLA Anant Singh is contesting on an RJD ticket. From 2005 to 2010, Singh won the seat as a JD(U) candidate. In 2015, after JD(U) denied him a ticket, he won as an Independent. The Mokama Assembly seat, dominated by Bhumihaar and Yadavs, has seen only local strongmen as its MLAs. In 90’s Singh’s brother Dilip became a legislator from here on a Janata Dal ticket. Since then, Singh has won this seat four times.
This seat will see a straight battle between the Congress and BJP. Having won the seat twice in a row, Labour Resources Department Minister Vijay Kumar Sinha is BJP's candidate here. In the last election, it was a close battle between BJP’s Vijay Kumar Sinha and JD(U)’s Ramanand Mandal.