In a stunning result in one of the most keenly watched individual electoral battles in the 2019 general elections, Union Minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad has defeated Congress candidate and sitting MP Shatrughan Sinha in Bihar's Patna Sahib constituency.
Ravi Shankar Prasad defeated Shatrughan Sinha by a margin of 2,84,657 votes.
The campaigning for the election had been a high-voltage affair given the popularity, significance and history of the contenders. It was Law and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad's first Lok Sabha election, having earlier been nominated to the Rajya Sabha from Bihar in 2012. It was his candidature that was announced first, even as Shatrughan Sinha was still in the process of formally severing ties with the BJP after almost 5 years of being a 'rebel' leader. He proceeded to join the Congress which promptly gave him a ticket to the same constituency.
It was Sinha's campaign that had been the more controversial of the two. He had triggered an uproar within his own party by campaigning for his wife Poonam Sinha in Lucknow despite her fighting on a Samajwadi party ticket. He had similarly courted controversy within the Congress by calling Pakistan's Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah part of 'Congress family', a statement he later took back by calling it a slip of tongue. It appears, however, that controversy hasn't negatively impacted him at the polling stations as he is set to join the 17th Lok Sabha.
A comparatively new seat, Patna Sahib has only ever been represented by Shatrughan Sinha, with the actor-turned-politician winning the inaugural Lok Sabha election from there in 2009 by beating the RJD's Vijay Kumar by almost twice as many votes. He had somehow managed to not only repeat but also better his feat in 2014 by comprehensively defeating his second-placed Congress opponent Kunal Singh by 4.85 lakh votes to 2.2 lakh. In fact, in both the past elections, Shatrughan Sinha had managed to win a majority vote-share on his own.