No matter which JD(U) leader contests, Nalanda remains supremo Nitish's bastion

Patna, May 9 (IANS) Bihar’s Nalanda Lok Sabha constituency is always in the limelight as Chief Minister Nitish Kumar shows special interest in his home district.

Under CM Nitish Kumar’s care, Nalanda is far ahead in terms of overall development and Rajgir and Pawapuri have been developed into major tourist hubs.

As a result, no matter which JD(U) leader contests from Nalanda, it remains a stronghold of Nitish Kumar since 1996.

Though the Lok Sabha elections will be held here in the seventh phase on June 1, campaigning has already gained momentum.

CM Nitish Kumar has done a roadshow here, while election meetings are being held continuously by the Grand Alliance.

Nalanda Lok Sabha constituency has an interesting history.

In the first General Election of the country held in 1952, Nalanda was known as Patna Central Lok Sabha and then Kailashpati Sinha of the Congress got the honour of becoming the first MP by winning this seat.

After that, the Congress bagged this seat six times but has not won it since 1989.

From 1996 to 2019, this seat was held by the George Fernandes-Nitish Kumar-led Samata Party and JD(U) only.

The JD(U)'s Kaushalendra Kumar has been defeating his rivals for the last three elections and is ready to score a fourth victory this time.

This is because no matter who contests the elections on a JD(U) ticket, it is believed that CM Nitish Kumar himself is contesting from here.

In this Lok Sabha election, the contest for this seat is mainly between the NDA and INDIA bloc candidates.

While the NDA has once again shown confidence in Kaushalendra Kumar, he has been pitted against Sandeep Saurav by the CPI(ML).

In 2009, Kaushalendra Kumar as an NDA candidate defeated the LJP's Satish Kumar.

In 2014, the JD(U) separated from the NDA and contested the elections. The contest for Nalanda was tough but Kaushalendra Kumar was successful in defeating LJP candidate Satyanand Sharma.

In 2019, Kaushalendra Kumar won as an NDA candidate and this time he defeated HAM's Ashok Kumar Azad, who was part of the Grand Alliance.

Nalanda is globally renowned for its ancient and rich heritage. In ancient times, Nalanda University was the world's largest and best centre of education.

Many monuments related to Buddha and Mahavira also make one realise the importance of Nalanda in the country’s religious history.

The total number of voters in Nalanda is 22,37,750 including 11,90,971 male and 10,46,709 female voters.

About 26 per cent of the voters here are Kurmis while about 17 per cent are Yadavs and 12 per cent are Muslims.

The Kushwaha voters are 10 per cent of Koeri voters. Apart from this, Dalit and Extremely Backward Caste voters also have significant numbers.

Out of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, Nalanda is one among three in the state under which there are seven Assembly seats — Asthawan, Biharsharif, Rajgir, Islampur, Hilsa, Nalanda and Harnaut.

Among these seven Assembly seats, except for Islampur, all the seats are held by the NDA. JD(U) MLAs won 5 seats and one seat went into the account of the BJP.

Ram Jeevan Singh, a Professor of political science at Magadh University told IANS, “Nalanda District is considered the home district of CM Nitish Kumar. A number of development projects have been completed and some are underway. A four-lane highway connecting Bakhtiyarpur to Rajauli in Nawada District crossing Nalanda is one of them. There is no doubt that JD(U) has the upper hand here but at the same time it is also true that Kaushalendra Kumar has not made any major achievements as an MP.”

“However, domination by Kurmi voters is also a factor here. In Bihar, there is no bigger Kurmi leader than Nitish Kumar and this also goes in his favour,” he said.


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