Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Shatrughan Sinha (pictured above) and Shekhar Suman of the Congress, both showbiz stars who were based in Mumbai, were pitted against each in the Patna Saheb constituency in a keenly followed contest. But on Saturday it was Sinha who proved to be the real 'Bihari babu'.
Suman is an actor and host of the popular TV talk-show "Movers and Shakers" while Sinha is a Bollywood veteran and a judge of a talent show called the "The Shotgun Show". Both belong to the Kayasths caste whose members account for over 500,000 votes in the urban constituency.
Sinha, who has been minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, was twice member of the Rajya Sabha. Both Sinha and Suman were contesting for the Lok Sabha for the first time.
"People voted for Shatrughan Sinha for his political identity and support of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. After all Shatrughan is in politics for decades unlike Shekhar Suman," said Ashok Singh, a magazine stall owner.
Abhisekh Mahto, a government official, told IANS: "BJP's Shatrughan Sinha attracted us for the simple reason that he is known as 'Bihari babu' across India as his roots are here and he was backed by Nitish Kumar."
Sanju Devi, a resident of Patna said she was happy that Shatrughan Sinha defeated Shekhar Suman.
"Shekhar is a fresher in politics compared to Shatrughan, who has been a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led BJP government," she said.
Similarly, Suresh Prasad who runs a tea stall at the busy Ashok Rajpath area here said that he was happy that Sinha had won the elections but disappointed that the BJP performed badly across the country.
"I supported Shatrughan for senior BJP leader L.K. Advani as I was sure that he will be the next prime minister."
There were some, however, who were cheering for Suman.
Fazal Imam, a management student said: "I am sad that Shekhar Suman of the Congress lost the elections. I voted for him because I like Rahul Gandhi, the star campaigner of the Congress."
It was a battle between two celebrities of Bihar, who had returned from Mumbai to try their luck in the political battlefield.
Indo-Asian News Service
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