Stakes high for Purnia bypoll

Last Updated: Friday, June 24, 2011 - 13:22

Purnia: Stakes are high for the bypolls to
the Purnia Assembly seat in Bihar, slated for Saturday,
although the ruling NDA commands two-thirds majority in the
state Assembly.

NDA leaders believe that a victory in Purnia will affirm
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar`s popularity but an adverse result
will give the opposition Congress, RJD, LJP and CPI-M more
shells in their armoury to attack the ruling alliance.

The bypoll has been necessitated following the killing
of BJP MLA Raj Kishore Keshri by a teacher Rupam Pathak in
full public view at his residence in Purnia on January 4.

Keshri`s widow Kiran is BJP`s nominee for the
seat this time.

The pre-poll scenario witnessed an apparent break in
the ties between the Lalu Prasad-led RJD and Ramvilas
Paswan-led LJP. While Paswan has lent support to the Congress
candidate Ramcharitra Yadav, the RJD is supporting CPI-M
nominee Amit Sarkar, son of slain party MLA Ajit Sarkar.

Altogether 2.31 lakh voters are eligible to cast their
votes in the bypoll to decide the fate of seven candidates.

Local newspapers have been carrying huge advertisements
explaining as to how the bypoll has been "needlessly" thrust
upon the people of Purnia.

The advertisement is aimed at creating a sympathy wave
in favour of Kiran Keshri, the BJP nominee. It seeks to
highlight how badly the Keshri family has suffered in the
hands of political rivals.

The photograph of a gloomy Kiran along with her
two minor sons dominates the city throughfares.

"My husband has been killed at the behest of political
adversaries because of the love and affection he used to
receive", Kiran said while claiming that she was sure of her
victory.

The CPI-M has a base in the area, but Purnia just
adjacent to West Bengal is swayed by the Mamata Banerjee
factor of the neighbouring state and Amit Sarkar, the Left
candidate, could find it heavy going for this reason.

"I have support from the Left and RJD... People loved
my father and I think they love me and will give me votes",
Amit said.

"I enjoy support from all", Ramcharitra Yadav,
considered close to jailed former MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu
Yadav, claimed and said he would come out with flying colours
this time as the situation was favourable.

Though the BJP camp is upbeat and confident about its
win, riding the sympathy wave as well as the `good image` of
chief minister Nitish Kumar, it is trying to brush the Rupam
Pathak issue under the carpet.

The recent killing of four persons at Forbesganj in a
police firing has become a talking point, particularly among
the minorities.

"It is bound to influence the Muslims", a Muslim leader
said.

In the 2010 Assembly poll, while Raj Kishore Keshri won
the seat polling 54,568 votes, Congress nominee Ramcharitra
Yadav secured 38,984 votes finishing second. Amit Sarakar
bagged 23,052 votes.

All the booths in the Purnia Assembly constituency will
be manned strictly by Bihar Military Police (BMP) personnel
and District Armed Police (DAP), official sources said.

PTI



First Published: Friday, June 24, 2011 - 13:22

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