In the first phase of Bihar assembly elections, voting started at 7 am on Wednesday morning amid tight monitoring and strong security arrangements for 71 assembly constituencies of 16 districts. About 2.14 crore voters will decide the fate of 1,066 candidates. Out of these 71 seats, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United (JD-U) is contesting on 35 seats, after which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded candidates for 29 seats.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is contesting on 42 seats, while its alliance partner Congress has candidates for 20 seats. But there are five seats which hold importance for everyone in the politics of the state.
Gaya- In the last 30 years no one has broken this fort of BJP. Bihar’s Agriculture Minister Prem Kumar has won this seat six times in a row. His stature is so important in state politics that he was included in the cabinet every time the NDA government came to power. This seat will be the standard and parameter of BJP’s popularity in the region.
Dinara- Here is the home of Jai Kumar Singh, Minister of Science and Technology Department of JDU. He has won twice from here and now wants to hit a hat-trick. From here, BJP rebel Rajendra Singh is in the fray against him on the ticket of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). Singh, who lost the last election by only 2,600 votes, has been the former vice-president of the BJP’s Bihar unit.
Kahalgaon – Congress has won this seat 12 times, 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 Neeraj Kumar of LJP by 20,000 votes. Singh is so popular here that he won in the 1977 election as well.
Mokama – Anant Singh, a local leader, and MLA from this seat are contesting on an RJD ticket. From 2005 to 2010, Singh won the seat as a JDU candidate. He won as an Independent after not getting a ticket from JDU in 2015. The Lok Sabha and Mokama constituency dominated by the Yadavas have elected only the local strongman as MLA. Singh’s brother Dilip became an MLA from here in the 90s on a Janata Dal ticket. Since then, Singh has won this seat four times.
Lakhisarai – A direct contest will be seen between the Congress and the BJP on this seat. After winning the seat twice in a row, Minister of Labor Resources Department Vijay Kumar Sinha is the BJP candidate here. In the last election, there was a close fight between BJP’s Vijay Kumar Sinha and JD (U )’s Ramanand Mandal.