Bihar Assembly polls: Top 10 key playersNew Delhi: The high-voltage Bihar Assembly poll is just round the corner. The two main rival camps – ‘grand alliance' comprising JD(U), RJD, Congress and BJP-led NDA are leaving no stone unturned to ensure their
New Delhi: The high-voltage Bihar Assembly poll is just round the corner. The two main rival camps – ‘grand alliance' comprising JD(U), RJD, Congress and BJP-led NDA are leaving no stone unturned to ensure their victory.
Political pundits say that Bihar polls will be a litmus test for BJP's poster boy and Prime Minister Narendra Modi especially after BJP's Delhi polls debacle and Nitish Kumar who has the backing of Lalu Prasad Yadav.
While many say the polls will be referendum on Narendra Modi government at the Centre, some say it will decide the political fate of Nitish. On the other hand, Lalu sees this as an opportunity to revive his political ground in the state.
India TV brings to you the list of 10 key players for the upcoming Assembly poll:
1. Narendra Modi
The Bharatiya Janata Party is expecting to ride on the Modi wave which helped the NDA sweep the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
In some of his election rallies he has done so far in the state, the Prime Minister has highlighted the works his government has done for Bihar.
The Prime Minister's announcement of special package of Rs 1.25 lakh crore to the state is giving sleepless nights to his rivals.
Likewise Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkahand Assembly polls, the BJP is banking on Modi wave in Bihar too and thus it has not declared any chief ministerial candidate.
The party is contesting polls here in alliance with Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM) and Upendra Kushwaha's Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RSLP).
The BJP, LJP, RLSP combine won 31 Lok Sabha seats out of 40.
It should be noted that BJP's vote share among Dalits, Tribals, Scheduled Castes and Muslims is significantly lower. Forward castes, accounting 15 per cent of the total population, are the main vote bank of BJP.
2. Nitish Kumar
Nitish Kumar is seeking a third term this time in alliance with Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD and Congress after he walked out of NDA in June, 2013 snapping 17-year-old ties with BJP.
In 2014 general election, his party managed to won only 2 seats. The poll is said to be an acid test for Nitish.
His break up with the BJP had angered the upper castes in the state. His move to woo Dalits by installing Manjhi as ‘puppet' CM and sacking him later endear him to Dalits.
Kumar has claimed that Bihar has forged ahead in the last 10 years under his stewardship, clocking a 10 per cent growth rate and development in health, roads, power, agriculture and education sectors among others.
Kumar has been saying that ‘there was an impression that nothing could happen in Bihar but I changed it and proved Bihar could move ahead'.
The most remarkable sign of improvement, according to Nitish, was in the law and order situation in the state.
Whatever be the result, while Modi will continue to remain powerful, it is Kumar who will find his political existence under threat if he loses. It he wins, the main challenge for Nitish will be to run a ‘messy' coalition government.
3. Lalu Prasad Yadav
RJD chief Lalu is fighting for his existence this time. In 2005 and 2010 polls, the JD(U), BJP alliance defeated him drastically.
Not only Lalu, the ‘grand alliance' is also banking on his popularity with Yadav voters.
Yadav's accounts nearly 14 per cent of the total population.
At Gandhi Maidan rally, Lalu had made it clear that the only reason he, Nitish and Congress have come together is to defeat BJP.
In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, RJD managed to won only 4 seats.
4. Ram Vilas Paswan
LJP chief Paswan is contesting in alliance with the BJP. Likewise in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Paswan is once again eyeing to bag as many seats under the leadership of Modi.
In 2014 general election, LJP had won 6 out of 7 seats the party had contested.
Paswan's LJP is fielding candidates on 40 seats this time.
Paswan has been projecting himself as a bigger leader of Dalits in the state and even claims that he has worked ceaselessly for the welfare of Dalits and the poorest of the poor.
Mahadalits and Dalits together account 16 per cent of the total population in the state.
5. Asaduddin Owaisi
Ever since he announced that his party, AIMIM, will contest the Bihar polls, the ‘grand alliance' leaders tried to bring him on board.
Oawisi's party will field candidates in Seemanchal region, nearly on 23 seats, which is dominated by minority community.
His decision will surely divide the Muslim votes, considered as a vote bank of Congress and RJD, and thus benefit the BJP.
Muslims accounts nearly 17 per cent of the total population.
6. Jitan Ram Manjhi
Manjhi's sole aim is to defeat Nitish, who sacked him from the CM post to restore himself.
Manjhi, who claims to be the biggest caretaker of Dalits, is fielding his candidates on 20 seats.
The total Dalits and Mahadalits comprise 16 per cent of the total population in the state.
If he manages to deliver even 50 per cent, surely it will be a huge setback to Nitish.
7. Upendra Kushwaha
He founded Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RSLP) in March 2013 at an impressive rally at the historic Gandhi Maidan in Patna.
Kushwaha, who represents Karakat in Lok Sabha, eyes the support of minorities and the most backward castes.
RSLP is an ally of NDA and will be contesting 23 seats in the upcoming polls.
Kushwaha's RSLP had won 3 out of 4 contest seats.
He says that Kumar and Lalu are fooling the people of Bihar for over two decades with one false promise or another.
8. Giriraj Singh
The firebrand BJP leader, who hails from a Bhumihar Brahmin caste, can polarise voters with his powerful speech.
Bhumihar accounts for 6 per cent of the total population in the state.
9. Sushil Kumar Modi
The former deputy Chief Minister of Bihar is a strong face of the saffron party in the state.
Aproduct of the same JP movement, Sushil is likely to become Bihar's chief minister if his party wins this year's assembly election.
The 62-year-old leader is credited with turning around the development-starved state's fortunes when his was part of the government
10. Nand Kishore Yadav
The BJP leader was a cabinet minister of road construction and tourism in the Government of Bihar, prior to the split of JDU from NDA in 2013.
Nand Kishore Yadav is BJP's Yadav face in Bihar.
The five-term MLA is currently serving as opposition leader in Bihar Assembly.
The saffron party is also banking on him for Yadav votes as a part of caste based politics to break Lalu's traditional vote bank.