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Election Yatra, Bihar Chapter: The fight for Samastipur without a Paswan this time

The 2024 general election in Samastipur constituency scheduled for May 20, will test the political landscape without a Paswan family member on the ballot. Anish Kumar reports

Special Election Yatra, Bihar Chapter: The fight for Samastipur without a Paswan this time
First Published Apr 29, 2024, 2:36 PM IST

It is for the first time in over three decades that Samastipur constituency will not witness any family member of veteran Dalit leader and former Union minister Late Ram Vilas Paswan contesting the 2024 general election, scheduled on May 20. 

ALSO READ: Election Yatra, Bihar Chapter: The voter in Hajipur does not look at candidates

Since 1991, the constituency has been the citadel for the Paswan family. Ram Vilas Paswan fought in 1991 and after that, his younger brother Ram Chander Paswan contested till his death in 2018 and later his nephew Prince Raj. In the 1990s, Ram Vilas Paswan was one of the senior-most socialist politicians in the country and a leader of Janta Dal, known for its anti-Congress block.  

Earlier, this constituency was known as Rosera. Samastipur constituency came into existence as a reserved seat in 2009 after a delimitation exercise, wherein the Rosra seat ceased to exist. 

In 1998, Ram Chander Paswan fought but lost to Lalu Yadav-led Rashtriya Janta Dal’s Pitambar Paswan. After the fall of the Atal Behari Vajpayee government, the general election was held in 1999 and Ram Chander Paswan again fought and emerged victorious. He subsequently won the 2004 election also. 

After becoming a part of Samastipur, Ram Chander Paswan lost in 2009 to JDU’s Maheshwar Hazari and won in 2014. In 2009, his party was in alliance with Lalu Yadav’s RJD and in 2014, he switched alliance with the BJP. After his death in 2018, his son Prince Raj contested and won, also followed in 2019. 

After the death of Ram Vilas Paswan, his party Lok Janashakti Party divided in two factions -- one led by his younger brother Pashupati Paras and the other by his son Chirag Paswan. 

Paras had the support of Prince Raj and three other Members of Parliament, including Nawada MP Chandan Singh, Vaishali MP Veena Devi, and Khagaria MP Mehboob Ali Kaisar. However, Veena Devi has come back to Chirag Paswan’s fold just ahead of the 2024 election and has been again fielded from the Vaishali seat against RJD’s Munna Shukla, a strongman.  

In the 2024 election, the BJP and Nitish Kumar’s JDU preferred Chirag Paswan over Pashupati Paras for alliance in Bihar and gave him five seats, including Hajipur, Samastipur, Jamui, Vaishali and Khagaria. 

In Samastipur, the LJP (Ram Vilas) has fielded Shambhavi Chaudhary, daughter of Ashok Chaudhary, who is a minister in the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar and also a veteran JDU leader. The Congress has fielded Sunny Hazari. He is also a kin of JDU leader and minister in the Bihar government, Maheshwar Hazari, who has a stronghold and is also a popular leader in the Samastipur region. 

Congress wanted to field a former director general of police level official and a Tamil Nadu cadre IPS officer BK Ravi but the dynamics changed after Shambhavi Chaudhary was pitched from the LJP (Ram Vilas) side. 

According to locals, as of now, Shambhavi is facing challenges with the tag of an outsider as she hails from Sheikhpura, which is quite over a hindered kilometres away from Samastipur while Sunny Hazari being an elected member of Prakhand Pramukh (Block Chairman) has easy cakewalk. 

It would be interesting to see how much she can shed her outsider tag. The election is about a month away.

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