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In Bihar's Madhubani, electoral candidates find going not so easy

Monday, 28 April 2014 - 12:52pm IST | Place: Madhubani (Bihar) | Agency: IANS

It is a tough electoral contest in this Bihar parliamentary constituency that is better known for its Madhubani paintings.

Hukum Deo Narayan Yadav, BJP candidate and incumbent MP, was the first to take oath in his mother-tongue, Maithili, in parliament 15 years ago.

A former union minister, Yadav, in his mid-70s, is seeking re-election and he realises that championing language will not get him votes. So, he is now seeking votes in the name of BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

"Please vote for me to strengthen Modi's hands for change. It is not a vote for me but for Modi," Yadav repeatedly tells people in this rural dominated constituency.

In the past, some organisations have demanded a separate Mithila state for Maithili language speakers.

Yadav began his career as 'mukhiya' (village chief) and was a socialist till he joined the BJP in 1996. He is heavily banking on the Modi factor as he is facing the combined might of the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress for the first time with their traditional social support base Yadav and Muslims closing ranks.

This has left BJP workers worried. "Our hope lies with division of Yadavs and Muslims between RJD of Lalu Prasad and JD-U of Nitish Kumar...," Kundan Jha, a BJP worker here, said. "Yadav is unpopular because he failed to fulfill promises of development despite being MP for three terms," said Sanjay Mishra, a Brahmin resident of Barhara village. 

Brahmins, who at nearly 11% of population have sizeable votes, are by and large supporting Modi.

RJD candidate Abdul Bari Siddiqui is eyeing the major chunk of Yadavs and Muslims who together constitute nearly 28% votes.

In the last polls in 2009, Yadav had managed a victory by a slim maergin of 9,927 votes when the Congress was also in fray and its candidate Shakeel Ahmad polled over 1.11 lakh votes.

JD-U candidate Ghulam Ghaus is trying to make a triangular contest this time by making inroads into Dalit Muslims, extreme backward castes and Mahadalits, poorest among Dalits on the basis of work of development and empowerment initiated by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

In flood prone Madhubani, lack of road connectivity, electricity, schools, health centres and high rate of migration are issues of a major concern.


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