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

Asianet Newsable's Anish Kumar travels to the historic Hajipur constituency in Vaishali district of Bihar. Hajipur, with its rich historical significance, witnesses a contest between Chirag Paswan of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and former Bihar government minister Shiv Chandra Ram of the RJD.

Special Election Yatra, Bihar Chapter: The voter in Hajipur does not look at candidates
First Published Apr 25, 2024, 5:45 PM IST

Both the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the RJD-Congress combo-led India National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) in Bihar have been claiming that their respective blocs would win all 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state, where the election is scheduled in seven phases. So far, elections have been held on four seats, including Aurangabad, Gaya, Jamui and Nawada. All these seats were won by NDA partners in 2019.

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Asianet Newsable travelled to Bihar’s Hajipur constituency which is believed to be the part of world’s first republic --- Vaishali. The name “Vaishali” was derived from King Vishal of the Mahabharata age. He is said to have constructed a massive fort here, which is now in ruins. Buddha visited this place thrice and also gave his last sermon and announced his Nirvana here. It is also the birthplace of Lord Mahavira. In the sixth century BC, the Licchavi dynasty ruled Vaishali which was spread up to the hills of Nepal. The Lichchavi state is being considered as the first republican state in the world. Over 7700 kings of the Lichchavi clan ruled Vaishali in the 6th century BC. Ajatshatru, the great Magadh King, annexed Vaishali in the fifth century BC and after that Vaishali gradually lost its glory and power. 

The Vaishali district has two Lok Sabha constituencies --- Vaishali itself and Hajipur. The latter is its administrative headquarters. Chirag Paswan of the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) is contesting from the NDA side and taking on former minister in the Bihar government and RJD’s Shiv Chandra Ram. Ram has unsuccessfully fought several times.

However, the campaigning in the constituency has not picked pace with Chirag being busy canvassing as one of the star campaigners for NDA candidates on seats where the election is scheduled in the near future. The voting in Hajipur will be held on May 20.

Manoj Thakur, who runs a roadside salon in the busiest Sarai market, told Asianet Newsable: "At the national level, there is no one to give a fight to Narendra Modi. The Opposition lacks faces. Under PM Modi, several new initiatives have taken place and India’s image at the international level has risen.”

While talking to this reporter, he expressed concern over rising unemployment and price rise. He belongs to the same community that former Bihar chief minister Late Karpoori Thakur belonged to -- 'Nai' or barber. Thakur was recently bestowed with Bharat Ratna by the Narendra Modi government.

Shakaldeep Yadav, who runs a dhaba on the Hajipur-Muzaffarpur national highway, was of the view that Tejashwi Yadav is the future. "He delivers what he says." Yadavs in Bihar have been core supporters of the RJD since the 1990s when Lalu Yadav was at the peak of his politics. 

Sonu Kumar, a Rajput from Kakrahta village under Bidupur block, working with a private firm in Delhi, was angry with the BJP over unemployment. However, he said: "I will be voting for the BJP as Modi has taken India to a new height and also constructed a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.” At the same time, he was positive about Tejashwi Yadav’s claims of providing lakhs of jobs in Bihar. "This time I shall go for the BJP; next time will give a thought to the RJD."

One thing is clear; they do not look at the candidates.

Haijur has been the citadel of socialist politics. Ever since the establishment of this seat in 1957, the Congress party has won four times only. However, the late Ram Vilas Paswan won eight times from this seat since 1977 and one time by his brother Pasupati Paras in 2019. This time, his son Chirag Paswan is in the fray.

It must be mentioned here that the seat is reserved for Scheduled Castes. It comprises six Vidhan Sabha segments -- Hajipur, Lalganj, Mahua, Raja Pakar, Raghopur, and Mahnar. Veteran socialist leader Ram Sundar Das, who was also a chief minister in Bihar won twice in 1991 and 2009. Paswan lost twice in 1984 and 2009.

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