Debutant Avijit to take on veteran Ravi Shankar Prasad in Patna Sahib : The Tribune India

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Debutant Avijit to take on veteran Ravi Shankar Prasad in Patna Sahib

Debutant Avijit to take on veteran Ravi Shankar Prasad in Patna Sahib

Anshul Avijit, Cong nominee from Patna Sahib



Tribune News Service

Aksheev Thakur

Patna, May 15

As the cavalcade of Congress candidate from Patna Sahib Lok Sabha constituency Anshul Avijit rolls into Congress Maidan in the local Kadam Kuan neighbourhood, the crowd — a blend of political workers and locals — waiting under sweltering heat, rush to greet him and accost him into a temporary shelter for an interaction.

Grandson of former Deputy PM Jagjivan Ram and son of former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Avijit is making his debut in this Lok Sabha poll. The fact that he is pitted against a formidable rival — former law minister and sitting BJP MP Ravi Shankar Prasad — does not seem to fluster him as he assures the gathering of addressing basic issues of unemployment and price rise if elected.

“Youngsters are disappointed with the Agniveer scheme and INDIA bloc has promised to scrap it the moment it comes to power,” Anshul tells this correspondent. The constituency which was carved out in 2008 after the delimitation process has remained a BJP bastion. Shatrughan Sinha, now in the TMC, won the seat on a BJP ticket in 2009 and 2014.

Navigating the maze that is Bihar politics, Avijit starts his day early to interact with voters and continues late into the night. Ask him if he is nervous to run from a new seat (his mother and grandfather represented Sasaram) and he smiles, “This is the seat the party leadership earmarked for me.”

Many Congress leaders, however, feel Avijit should have been fielded from Sasaram. “He should have contested from Sasaram. Caste is an important dynamics in Bihar politics. Patna Sahib is a Kayastha-dominated area which has traditionally supported the BJP. Who would support a debutant like Avijit? The party just dumped him here. Ravi Shankar Prasad is a veteran,” a senior Congress leader accompanying Avijit in the campaign said, requesting anonymity.

Avijit attempts a counter, saying Prasad has not carried out any development work in Patna Sahib.

Rallying in support of Avijit, CPI (ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya says the election is about saving the constitution.

“The fight is to save the constitution. The election is to end the disastrous decade-old reign,” he adds.

People need change

There is an undercurrent for the Congress and people do need change. In my interaction with voters here, I hear anxieties around price rise and unemployment — the issues that have not been addressed by the BJP. Youngsters are disappointed with the Agniveer scheme. — Anshul Avijit, Cong nominee from Patna Sahib

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