Araria bypoll: The upcoming bypoll in Araria will be test for BJP-JDU’s popularity in Bihar. Necessitated after the death of RJD MP Mohammed Taslimuddin, the election will see direct contest between BJP’s Pradeep Kumar Singh and RJD’s Sarfaraz Alam, former MP’s son. The seat has an interesting electoral past. BJP’s Pradeep Kumar Singh won the seat in 2004 and 2009. However, in 2014, when Nitish Kumar split ties with BJP, the seat was wrested by Taslimuddin. The splitting of votes between BJP and JDU candidate was seen as the apparent reason for Taslimuddin’s victory. As Nitish has returned to NDA, the bypoll may well determine how much influence has the alliance been able to retain.
The BJP is banking on previous election’s arithmetic to win elections. However, BJP must be worried due to the infighting triggered by the selection of its candidate. In 2014, Pradeep Singh had polled 2.61 lakh votes, while JD(U) candidate had bagged 2.22 lakh. On the other hand, Taslimuddin had got 4.08 lakh votes. Here, the total of votes polled by JDU and BJP candidate exceeded that of the BJP. Speaking to media, BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi spelt the same on Wednesday while addressing a programme in constituency’s Raniganj area. He said that BJP lost as it fought in separation with JDU. He further exuded confidence that BJP will emerge victorious this time and as RJD “cannot do anything against the combined strength of BJP and Nitish Kumar.” On the other hand, Taslimuddin’s son, Sarfaraz Alam, is banking on a combination of Muslim and Yadav voters who comprise more than half of electorate in the area.
The party is also eyeing a section of the SC and EBC votes. However, there are obstacles in RJD’s way too. Sarfaraz does not enjoy the popularity as his father did, also Victor Yadav, a candidate fielded by Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party, may end up cutting some Yadav votes.