JD(U) releases names of all 16 candidates for upcoming Lok Sabha polls

In Sitamarhi, JD(U) has nominated Devesh Chandra Thakur, the legislative council chairman, as its candidate, replacing the sitting MP

The Janata Dal (United) released a list of 16 candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections on March 24, providing a caste break-up, in a reflection of the impact that last year’s caste census has had on the State’s politics. Two sitting MPs have been dropped, while two turncoats have been given tickets, with preference given to backward class leaders.

The Nitish Kumar-led party dropped sitting MPs Kavita Singh from Siwan and Sunil Kumar Pintu, who had turned rebel, from Sitamarhi. It fielded Vijaylakshmi Devi who had crossed over from the Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Manch (RLM) on Saturday and Devesh Chandra Thakur respectively from these two constituencies. The party dropped the sitting Siwan MP and fielded Devi, an OBC Kushwaha, amid speculation of the Mahagathbandhan fielding an OBC candidate from the seat.

For the Sheohar Lok Sabha seat, which the party will contest for the first time, it has fielded Lovely Anand, the wife of former MP Anand Mohan who was serving life imprisonment for instigating the murder of Gopalganj district magistrate in 1994 and was released early by the Bihar government last April.

Sheohar, which was won by the BJP’s Rama Devi in 2019, is likely to see a contest between Lovely and Parihar leader Ritu Jaiswal, whose name has been doing the rounds as the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) nominee, though an official announcement has yet to be made in the regard.

In Sitamarhi, JD(U) has nominated Devesh Chandra Thakur, the legislative council chairman, as its candidate, replacing the sitting MP.

The JD(U) has fielded Mujahid Alam from Kishanganj, which the Congress’s Mohammed Jawed won in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The seat, where the AIMIM’s Akhtarul Iman came third last time, seems to be headed for a triangular fight this time too with the Asaduddin Owaisi-led party deciding to stay away from the INDIA bloc.

For the remaining seats, the JD(U) has retained its sitting MPs. Former party president Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh, who belongs to the Bhumihar community, will be in the fray from Munger. The contest here has garnered attention after the RJD announced Kumari Anita, the wife of mafia don-turned-politician Ashok Mahato, as its candidate. As Mahato, who hails from the OBC Kurmi community, has been convicted and cannot contest the polls, RJD chief Lalu Prasad reportedly advised him to get married to ensure his wife’s candidature.

Kaushlendra Kumar, who is seeking his fourth term, has been fielded from Nalanda, a seat represented by CM Nitish Kumar and former Union Minister George Fernandes in the past.

Santosh Kumar, who is seeking a third term, has been named as the JD(U)’s candidate from Purnea, a seat which is staring at a prospective high-profile fight with the Congress reportedly looking to field Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, who recently merged his Jan Adhikar Party with the grand old party, from here.

The other candidates who have been renominated include Sunil Kumar from Valmiki Nagar, Rampreet Mandal from Jhanjharpur, Dileshwar Kamat from Supaul, Dulalchand Goswami from Katihar,, Dinesh Chandra Yadav from Madhepura, Alok Kumar Suman from Gopalganj, Ajay Kumar Mandal from Bhagalpur, Giridhari Yadav from Banka and Chandeshwar Prasad from Jehanabad.

Meanwhile, party national vice-president Sanjay Jha said care had been taken to ensure “fair representation of all sections of society”. The list includes six OBCs, five EBCs, one Mahadalit, a Muslim and three from the upper castes.

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