Electoral alliances seem to have fallen apart in the upcoming Bihar legislative council polls, with the constituent parties of both, the ruling grand alliance and the opposition NDA, deciding to field their candidates against each other.
Barely days after the Grand Alliance (GA) constituents—Janata Dal (United) and Rashtriya Janata Dal—announced their decisions to contest two seats each out of the total four seats going to the polls on March 9, the Congress, on Saturday, declared its nominees for two seats being contested by the RJD.
At a hurriedly convened press conference, Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) president and education minister Ashok Choudhary said that the party nominees—former MLC Ajay Kumar Singh and former MLA Hridaya Narayan Yadav—would contest from Gaya graduate and teachers’ constituencies, respectively.
As per its understanding with the JD (U), the RJD had decided to field former minister Jagadanand Singh’s son Amod Singh and principal of Jehanabad College Dinesh Prasad Yadav, as its nominees for the Gaya graduate and teachers’ constituencies, respectively.
The JD (U) has fielded as its candidates, Sanjiv Singh and Birendra Narayan Yadav, for the Kosi teachers’ constituency and Saran teachers’ constituency, respectively.
Rift over council polls became apparent also in the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA), when its constituent, union minister Ram Vilas Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), announced it would field its nominee, DN Sinha, a reader in Patna’s BN College, for the Gaya teachers’ constituency.
This will pit the LJP nominee against sitting MLC Sanjeeva Shyam Singh, candidate of another NDA constituent , union minister Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP).. Singh has already filed his nomination papers for the seat.
Another NDA constituent, the ex-CM Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular, is betting on former minister Mahachandra Prasad Singh, who was earlier disqualified by the Patna high court, to wrest the Saran teachers’ constituency for the NDA.
The BJP is looking to retain Gaya graduates’ seat by fielding its sitting MLC and chairman of the legislative council, Awadhesh Narayan Singh.
Choudhary denied that the Congress’ decision to field its nominees against alliance partner, the RJD, would have any adverse implications for the ruling GA. “The understanding among the GA could not be reached over the polls, as the BPCC got the AICC nod late,” he said.
Some GA leaders alleged it was a tactical move by the Congress to throw a spanner in the RJD’s poll prospect with ‘tacit backing’ from the JD (U). “The idea is to get even with the RJD for its continued attack on chief minister Nitish Kumar and other JD (U) leaders,” said a senior JD (U) leader.
Choudhary, however, refuted the charge, saying that the council polls were decided on the individual strength of the candidates. “Both the Congress nominees have been working in the area for the past one year or so, and hence have strong possibility to win the seats,” he added.