Millennium Post

Chirag Paswan popular in Jamui, but may face a close contest this time

Jamui (Bihar): Riding the Modi wave, young Lok Janshakti Party leader Chirag Paswan made a successful debut five years back from the reserved parliamentary constituency named after this district, but the going may not be that easy this time due to changed caste equation.

The 36-year-old Chirag Paswan, whose political debut came a couple of years after his acting debut received critical appreciation but met with commercial failure, had achieved a comfortable victory with a margin of about 80,000 votes.

The return of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who heads the JD(U), to the NDA has earned a following among the 'mahadalits' through targeted affirmative action and would provide the ballast that may be crucial in this Lok Sabha segment which is spread across three districts Munger, Jamui and Shekhpura and encompasses six assembly constituencies. The poorest among the dalit groups were given the name 'mahadalits' by the Nitish Kumar government in 2007 for whose welfare, special schemes were started.

However, Paswan stares at a contest that could still turn out to be tight, a reason why he has hardly stepped out of his constituency for past several days and star campaigners who have canvassed in his favour include heavyweights like Kumar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

The Lok Sabha seat came into existence in the delimitation of 2008 and Bhudeo Chaudhary, who won it in the first general elections that followed, is now pitted against the LJP MP. The constituency will see voting in the first phase on April 11.

Chaudhary, who was the NDA candidate in 2009, fought on a JD(U) symbol and beat by about 30,000 votes his nearest RJD rival Shyam Rajak. He is now with the RLSP and the candidate of the 'Mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance).

Paswan, who has emerged as the de facto leader of the party his father Ram Vilas Paswan had founded nearly two decades ago, has quite a few accomplishments under his belt which he banks upon in addition to the formidable caste arithmetic that the BJP-JD(U)-LJP alliance brings to the table.

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