New Delhi: A Union minister and four-time Rajya Sabha MP slogging it out in his first Lok Sabha contest and an actor-star who has switched sides barely a month before.
Throw in the deciding votes of a politically aware and empowered Kayastha community and you have all the ingredients of a political pot-boiler when Patna Sahib goes to polls on May 19.
The constituency which has suddenly acquired VIP status due to this proverbial “clash of the titans”, has seen the whos who of the political arena from BJP President Amit Shah, home minister Rajnath Singh to Congress President Rahul Gandhi holding road shows to woo the voters not to mention the star parade all thanks to Congress candidate Mr Shatrughan Sinha’s bollywood connections.
While there is no one deciding factor in these elections for this seat, a visit to the constituency makes one feel that the BJP would hold on to this traditional bastion not withstanding the changing of sides of its sitting MP Mr Sinha barely a month before the polls.
The Patna Sahib seat consists of six Assembly segments of which BJP had won five even when the party performed poorly in the state.
Kayastha are the highest chunk of the electorate in Patna Sahib.
The Congress party which inducted Mr Sinha amid much fanfare is banking on his star power and his ability to pocket the Kayastha votes, a community to which the star belongs.
However, pre-empting this, the BJP has fielded another Kayastha and son of the soil Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. The party has also made it a prestige battle as before leaving BJP Mr Sinha kept up a strong line of attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Mr Prasad, however, claims that he does not indulge in caste-based politics. “Neither will I make any personal attacks or even name my opponent,” he told this newspaper after a road show in Deegha area of the city.
While, both parties are running a tough campaign, a closer look reveals that it is Mr Prasad’s which is the more visible face rather than Mr Sinha’s.
The reason, Congress workers at the party’s local office at Sadqat Ashram say is that the actor has found it difficult to settle down into his new party’s structure so fast.
Thus, while youth Congress workers take out motorcycle rallies wearing Nyay T-shirts and cycle rickshaws are draped in posters of “Bihari Babu” Shatrughan Sinha, the candidate himself seems to be missing in action.
In sharp contrast is BJP’s Mr Prasad, who is literally slogging it in his first Lok Sabha contest holding almost three road shows in a day.
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