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New Delhi: The nation is all set to cast votes in the first phase of elections on April 19. Bihar is all set to conduct polls in four constituencies, including Gaya. These elections will decide the fate of 38 candidates who are fighting for parliamentary seats in the region. It’s interesting that Gaya boasts of the highest number of candidates, with 14 individuals contending in the elections.

Lok Sabha Elections 2019 

During the 2019 Lok Sabha election, all four seats were secured by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The BJP emerged victorious in Aurangabad, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) won in Gaya, and the then-united Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) in both Jamui and Nawada. Bihar holds significant importance in Indian politics with its 40 Lok Sabha seats. The state ranks as the fourth-highest state overall in terms of Lok Sabha representation.

Jitan Ram Manjhi (HAM) 

The BJP has opted to leave the Gaya (reserved) seat for its ally, the Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular (HAM-S). Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) patron and former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi competes with former minister and RJD candidate Kumar Sarvjeet from Gaya Lok Sabha constituency.

Kumar Sarvjeet (RJD) 

Giving fierce competition to Manjhi is Kumar Sarvajeet of the RJD. Kumar is a former minister and current MLA representing the Bodh Gaya constituency. His father served as the Gaya MP in the 1990s. 

Gaya Lok Sabha Seat

For the past 25 years, Gaya has been reserved for scheduled caste candidates. Political parties primarily target votes from EBCs, OBCs, and Upper castes in Gaya. The region is known for its religious significance due to its location on the banks of the river Falgu. Gaya also houses the internationally acclaimed Mahabodhi Mahavihara (temple), where Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment. The Manjhi (Musahar) community wield significant influence among the  Scheduled Caste voters. 

Historically, the Gaya seat has seen diverse political twists and turns. The Congress last won it in 1984 and the RJD in 2004. Victories in 2009 and 2014 went to the BJP, and in 2019 to the Janata Dal (United). Although, since 1999, a member of the Manjhi community has consistently represented the seat.