Patna Sahib: Actor, doctor up against Shatrughan Sinha
Patna: A Bhojpuri film actor, a prominent doctor and a former minister are hoping to upset the apple cart of actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha of BJP, who is making a bid for a second consecutive term to the Lok Sabha from Patna Sahib seat that goes to polls on Thursday.
Popularly known as "Bihari Babu", Sinha became the first MP of the newly created Patna Sahib constituency after delimitation in 2009, defeating his RJD rival Vijay Kumar by over 1.66 lakh votes. His Bollywood colleague Shekhar Suman of Congress came third with 54,000 votes.
This time, Sinha is locked in a four-cornered contest in the seat which houses the famous shrine of 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh. In all, there are 19 candidates.
Congress has fielded Bhojpuri film actor Kunal Singh on the advice of its ally RJD chief Lalu Prasad while prominent doctor of the town Gopal Prasad Sinha is fighting from JD(U) and former minister Parveen Amanullah, who quit the Nitish Kumar cabinet in February, is the nominee of Aam Aadmi Party.
Facing complaints of not visiting his constituency, Sinha and his family are criss-crossing the seat for the past fortnight to soothe any anger among people. He is accompanied by his actress wife Poonam Sinha. Though "Dabaang"-fame daughter Sonakshi Sinha is busy with shooting, she is seeking support for her father on the social media.
Sinha, who served as health minister in NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has strongly countered the allegation of remaining absent from the constituency.
"Check it with Patna Airport and Kadam Kuan police station how many times in a month I come to Patna," Sinha told PTI.
"I am among the few MPs who has exhausted all his funds under MPLAD for development works and without any complaint of corruption. In a recent data released by the Lok Sabha, my name was listed among the top 30 MPs", he said to drive home his point.
Sinha is also eyeing the 3.5 lakh voters of his Kayastha castemen to see him through.
Congress nominee Singh, a Yadav by caste is banking on the popularity of Lalu Prasad and presence of substantial number of Yadavs, Muslims and Extremely Backward Castes (EBCs) votes in the constituency.
Singh, son of former Bihar minister Budhadeo Singh, is being helped in his campaign by his wife Aarti Bhattacharya, a Bangla film actress.
Out of six Assembly constituencies in Patna Sahib, three seats -- Patna Sahib, Bankipore and Kumhrar -- are with BJP, Bhaktiarpur and Fatuha with RJD while Digha is represented by JD(U).
Gopal Prasad Sinha of JD-U, also a Kayastha, is expecting to make inroads into the caste votes and benefit from the doctors` fraternity.
AAP nominee Amanullah, an RTI activist and daughter of diplomat-politician Syed Shahbuddin, is banking on the persona of Arvind Kejriwal besides support from Muslims, which has about 1.80 lakh voters out of the total 18,12,987 electorate.
Amanullah, wife of senior IAS officer Afzal Amanullah, is making rounds of the constituency requesting people to test the fledgling party in the state. She is also visiting mosques to mobilise minority support.
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