Elections began in Bihar on Thursday as the state that is going to polls in all seven phases witnessed voting in four Lok Sabha constituencies. Bihar is witnessing a fight between the ruling alliance between JD(U), BJP and LJP on one hand, and the 'Mahagathbandhan' of RJD, Congress, RLSP and HAM on the other.
LJP leader Chirag Paswan who is contesting from Jamui reserved seat and is seeking re-election is locked in a direct contest with RLSP's Bhudeo Chaudhary. Paswan spoke to Republic TV shortly after voting began on Thursday and answered a number of questions.
On being asked for what he expects from the first day of polling, he said:
"I just hope that the polling is done well. To some extent it is said that my Lok Sabha constituency is affected and driven by Naxal forces, I hope there is no harm to anybody due to the campaigns and activities. Constantly, even I am monitoring this from my control room. Even our Prime Minister wants 100% voting to take place today. Nothing will be better than that. I hope for maximum voting because every vote counts. In recent times, I have realised that people of this country are gradually understanding this emotion. So, right now I am only thinking that there should maximum voter turnout, and I pray that NDA takes over at the Centre again and Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to be our Prime Minister."
When asked if there is an upsurge of emotions that he is feeling as phase 1 kicks off in his state, he said:
"To become a little restless, and speeding of the heart-beat is natural. To feel like this is also important, or you won't be able to stay human and grounded. But I also have faith, because I have been campaigning since 2-3 weeks, and I have met and interacted with people, and this is not just now, as I have been constantly doing it since the past five years. I have maintained that. So, I have faith in the fact that the results will be good, even better than 2014, of not just Jamui, but the whole of Bihar. Last time the NDA won 31 seats, this time we will win all 40."
When asked that out of various topics like, governance, Hindutva, security of the nation or development of the country, which will be the agenda of the government's campaigns, he replied:
"I think development if the root of every issue. When you talk about the nation's security, the technology and inventions that are created, that is all related to the development of the country. India today has not just become one of the most important powers, but also the 4th nation to have entered the global space power club, so the entire credit for this goes to our armed forces and the scientists for producing that kind of technology. So, development is present at the root of every issue. "
Bihar sends 40 representatives to Parliament out of which four are voting on Thursday, namely, Aurangabad, Gaya, Nawada and Jamui.
In Jamui, the fight is between BSP's Upendra Ravidas, LJP's Chirag Kumar Paswan and RLSP's Bhudeo Chaudhary.
In Aurangabad, there is a contest between BSP's Naresh Yadav and BJP's Sushil Kumar Singh.
In Nawada, it is between LJP's Chandan Singh, RLSP's Vibha Devi and BSP's Vishnu Dev Yadav.
Lastly, in Gaya, the contest is between BSP's Dilip Kumar, NCP's Din Dayal Bharti aka Kapil Chaudhari. JD(U)'s Vijay Kumar Manjhi and HAM's Jitan Ram Manjhi.
The voting in phase two, three, four, five, six and seven will take place on April 18, 23, 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19, respectively. The counting of the votes will take place on May 23.