Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cong confidence in Bihar misplaced

PATNA: State Congress leaders do not appear to be in a mood pay heed to the pleas of “secular forces”, particularly LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan,
that the Congress, RJD and LJP should fight the next assembly elections together.

“That may be his personal views. So far as we are concerned, we want to fight the next assembly polls alone,” Congress’ state working president Samir Kumar Singh said, adding the party fetched 24 lakh votes this time, up from 14 lakh votes in the last Lok Sabha polls, and won two seats on its own strength. “The party has stood on its feet in Bihar after a long time,” he said.

However, a section of Congress leaders feel the new-found confidence might be misplaced. Of the 39 candidates fielded by the party in the 2009 polls, as many as 19 lost their security deposits. The party stood second in just two parliamentary constituencies, Sitamarhi and Supaul. It stood 3rd in 18 constituencies and fourth in nine constituencies. In two constituencies, Congress candidates were on seventh position.

Some candidates like Vijay Shankar Dubey in Siwan, K K Tiwari in Buxar and Sunila Devi, MLA, in Nawada performed pitiably. Even a high-profile candidate like Shekhar Suman lost his security deposit in Patna Sahib.

Also, the party contested the polls mostly with “borrowed players”; that is, politicians who deserted RJD, LJP and even BJP just on the eve of polls. They included Sadhu Yadav, Ramai Ram, Giridhari Yadav, Hind Keshri Yadav, Lovely Anand and Sheel Kumar Rai, to name a few. Only one political turncoat, Maulana Asrarul Haque, managed to win — in Kishanganj. But then Haque had secured over 1.75 lakh votes even when he contested the last election as an Independent.

The party’s “impressive” show in Purnia and Supaul had more to do with the influence of habitual political turncoat and don-turned-politician Pappu Yadav than the growing influence of the party.

Borrowed candidates like Hind Keshri, Vijay Singh Yadav and Ramai Ram failed to play even `vote-katuwas’ or spoilers though many of them were given tickets at the cost of seasoned Congress leaders like Veena Shahi and Ram Jatan Sinha.

“The experiment with borrowed players failed. We will prepare our own leaders to contest the upcoming assembly polls,” Samir Kumar Singh said.

The state BJP has another explanation to dispute the Congress claim that it has become self-dependent in Bihar. “In 2004 LS polls, the Congress contested for four Lok Sabha seats — Madhubani, Begusarai, Sasaram and Aurangabad, and polled over 13.15 lakh votes.

This time from the same four parliamentary constituencies, it could fetch a little more than 4.32 lakh votes,” said BJP spokesperson Vinod Narayan Jha.

Source : Times of India

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