It’s Shotgun versus Shaker


Patna : Voters in Bihar’s Patna Saheb constituency have a choice Thursday between entertainment stars Shatrughan ‘Shotgun’ Sinha and Shekhar ‘Shaker’ Suman as their representative to the Lok Sabha.

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The showbiz men have made the battle interesting in Patna Saheb, one of the three Bihar constituencies which votes in the fourth phase of the staggered parliament elections. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad is also in fray from Patliputra.

Shekhar, an actor and TV talk-show “Movers and Shakers” host is contesting for the Congress, while Shatrughan – a Bollywood star and a judge of “The Shotgun Show” TV talent show – is running for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

They have many things in common besides making their marks in the entertainment industry. The two are sons of the soil and both belong to the upper caste of Kayasths, which constitute over 500,000 votes in the constituency. The similarities give voters a stark choice.

However, Shekhar is a fresher in politics compared to Shatrughan, who has been a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led BJP government.

About 4.89 million voters in the three constituencies of Bihar are eligible to exercise their right to decide the fate of 57 candidates.

In Patliputra, Lalu Prasad is locked in a straight fight with his friend-turned-foe Ranjan Prasad Yadav of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U).

Congress candidate Vijay Kumar Yadav may split some Yadav votes between him and Lalu Prasad, which goes to the JD-U’s advantage.

Lalu Prasad is also contesting from Saran constituency where election was held April 16 in the first phase of the staggered polls.

In Nalanda constituency, the contest will be between JD-U’s Kaushalendra Kumar and Lok Janshakti Party’s Satish Kumar.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is confident of the JD-U victory in his home constituency Nalanda in the wake of his development plank. Nitish Kumar is fighting a proxy war on behalf of his candidate and is hard selling his development works during his rule.

Lalu Prasad’s RJD is in alliance with Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP. They are said to be enjoying overwhelming support from the Yadavs, a powerful backward caste, and Paswan, a powerful Dalit caste.

Besides, they also enjoy support of the Muslim community, other backward castes and Dalits.

For the first time, Lalu and Paswan are trying to win over a section of upper castes, mainly Brahmins and Rajputs, who are said to be unhappy with Nitish Kumar.

Meanwhile, the state election officials said heavy deployment of central paramilitary forces has been made in Maoist affected areas of rural Patna and Nalanda districts.