It’s Upendra Kushwaha vs Nitish Kumar’s aide in Karakat

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KARAKAT: It is virtually a fight between national presidents of two respective parties — Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) and Janata Dal United (JD-U) – in Karakat Lok Sabha constituency. Though JD(U) national president Nitish Kumar is not in the fray, his prestige is at stake as his confidante and party nominee Mahabali Singh is pitted against RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha, who is seeking re-election from the seat.
The fight between Nitish and Kushwaha is an open secret. Nitish has fielded Mahabali, a former MP, from Karakat despite the fact that the latter came in third by securing just 76,000 votes in the 2010 general election. Kushwaha had won the seat by defeating his nearest rival Kanti Singh of RJD with a margin of over 1 lakh votes in the previous election.
The seat assumes significance in the wake of Kushwaha’s statement at a party workers’ meeting recently that he opted to contest both Karakat and Ujiarpur seats as he wanted to defeat both JD(U) and BJP nominees. “Ek teer se do shikar karne mein kya harj hai,” Satyendra Kumar (30), an RLSP supporter, quoted Kushwaha as saying.
While JD(U)’s Mahabali is contesting Karakat seat, BJP state president Nityanand Rai is in the fray from Ujiarpur. The election for the Ujiarpur seat was held on May 18 while Karakat will go to the polls in the seventh and last phase on May 19. “The defeat of Mahabali will be construed as the defeat of Nitish from Karakat. Hence, Nitish is leaving no stone unturned to ensure his candidate’s victory,” a staunch supporter of Mahabali said.
Issues like unemployment, pucca houses for the poor, quality education and better health services are being deliberately ignored by the parties as no development work had been done in the last five years in Karakat. “Every party is trying to befool the electorate on one pretext or the other,” laments Narendra Kumar (50), a resident of Bhagwanbigha village under Obra assembly segment.
Narendra, a farmer, said majority of the villagers of Bhagwanbigha would vote for the Mahagathbandhan candidate as ‘acche din’, as promised by Narendra Modi in the run up to 2014 Lok Sabha elections, has not come yet.
Another resident, Santosh Kumar (43), hastened to add, “Kisan mar raha hai aur Modi sarkar kisan samman yojna ki baat kar rahi hai. Yah kisan ka apmaan hani nahi to aur kya hai?” The farmers of the Yadav-dominated village have not received any financial help under the Centre’s Kisan Samman Yojna.
But at Amritbigha village along Daudnagar-Dehri road, the residents admitted that there was Modi wave in the hinterland. “Modi ji ke naam par vote denge (we will vote in the name of Modi)”, said Heeralal Paswan (35), a local. He, however, said his family had not been provided benefits of the Centre’s Indira Awas Yojna.
Bindeshwar Paswan (52), another local, said, “My two sons are graduate but still looking for jobs. You can image how a daily wager’s family managed to meet the expenses incurred on the studies of the two up to graduation level. The promises of Modi to provide jobs to unemployed youth have proved hollow.”
Leela Devi, a middle-aged woman, who was sitting beside Bindeshwar, however, admitted that LPG connections had been given for free to the residents of Paswan Tola. “But how can a person who hardly earns Rs 300 a day refill the cylinder which costs around Rs 800,” she said.
Karakat comprises Dehri, Nokha and Karakat assembly segments in Rohtas district and Nabinagar, Obra and Goh in Aurangabad district. Yadavs and Kushwahas hold the sway in the constituency. According to locals, Yadavs constitute around 2.5 lakh, Kushwahas around 3.5 lakh, Muslims around 1.5 lakh and upper castes (Brahmins, Bhumihars and Kayasthas) around 4 lakh of total population in the constituency.
The residents’ anger against Kushwaha for his failure to set up a Kendriya Vidyalaya in Rohtas district was palpable. “What to talk of other things when he failed to provide a KV for the people of his constituency? He was a junior minister of human resource at the Centre,” said Awadhesh Kumar, a senior advocate.

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