Constituency Watch: It may not be a cakewalk for NDA in stronghold Khagaria

Patna May 3 (IANS) The Khagaria Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar has been a strong bastion of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) since 2009, with its allies winning back-to-back elections from the seat.

However, it can be a tough challenge for the NDA candidate -- Rajesh Verma of the Lok Janshakti Party-Ram Vilas (LJP-RV) -- this time as two-term sitting MP Mehboob Ali Kaiser has left the alliance and joined the RJD to be a part of the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar.

The contest in Khagaria is panning out to be a fight between local and outsider candidates.

While Rajesh Verma belongs to Bhagalpur district, Mahagathbandhan nominee Sanjay Kumar of the CPI-M is a native of Madar block in Khagaria district, whose father has been an MLA from the region in the past.

The Khagaria Lok Sabha constituency came into existence in 1957 with the Congress winning the seat for the first two terms.

The grand old party also scripted victory in 1980 and 1984, but since then, Congress lost its control over the seat.

But things changed since 2009 when Dinesh Chandra Yadav of the JD-U, an NDA ally, defeated Ravindra Kumar Rana of the RJD.

In 2014, Mahboob Ali won the seat contesting on an LJP ticket, defeating Krishna Yadav of the RJD, before retaining the seat for the NDA in 2019, getting the better of Mukesh Sahani of the Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP).

However, the political equations have changed in 2024 with the Chirag Paswan-led LJP-RV denying a ticket to Mahboob Ali, and fielding a new face -- Rajesh Verma -- in his place.

The biggest concern for the NDA is Mahboob Ali, who joined the RJD and is campaigning hard for Mahagathbandhan candidate Sanjay Kumar.

The constituency has over 18 lakh voters, dominated by the Yadavs, followed by Muslims and Nishads (fishermen community).

Around 35 per cent of the voters belong to the Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs), 28 per cent to Other Backward Classes (OBCs), 19 per cent to Scheduled Caste (SCs), followed by 10 per cent Muslims, and 8 per cent belonging to the general category.

There are six Assembly segments under the Khagaria Lok Sabha constituency, of which four seats -- Simri Bakhtiyarpur, Hasanpur, Alauli, and Khagaria -- were won by the Mahagathbandhan candidates in the 2020 Assembly elections, while the NDA nominees emerged victorious in Beldaur and Parbatta.

Polling in Khagaria will be held in the third phase on May 7. The results will be out on June 4.


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