Is it destination Delhi now for former Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar? In the aftermath of his resignation as CM and the three vacancies created in Bihar’s quota to the Rajya Sabha following the Lok Sabha victories of Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP), Rajiv Pratap Rudy (BJP) and Ram Kripal Yadav (RJD), speculation is rife that Kumar will be one of the candidates.
JD(U) president Sharad Yadav, who lost the Madhepura seat to Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav by a substantial margin of 56,209 votes, is likely to be fielded as the second candidate to the Rajya Sabha.
With 121 of the total 243 MLAs in the state assembly, the JD(U) leaders are hopeful about winning at least two seats to the council of states.
The recent resignations of three RJD and two BJP legislators seem to have bolstered the numbers game further in favour of the ruling JD(U).
With the reins of chief ministership having been handed over to ‘Mahadalit’ leader Jitan Ram Manjhi, Kumar’s re-entry into national politics can enable him to emerge as the face of the secular grouping in the Rajya Sabha, where the BJP-led NDA is in a minority.
RJD’s Rabri Devi is also being considered as a candidate to the Rajya Sabha, but such moves seem constrained by the fact that the RJD does not have the required numbers in the state assembly.
“These are changing times and the possibility of Rabri Devi’s candidature being backed by Kumar’s JD(U) cannot be considered an impossibility”, sources said.
Rabri Devi’s entry into the Rajya Sabha might enable Lalu Prasad to retain the spacious 8, Akbar Road bungalow allotted to him in 2004, when he had been elevated as the railways minister.
BJP’s Shahnawaz Hussain, who lost the Bhagalpur seat to the RJD’s Shailesh Kumar, is likely to be the saffron party’s candidate to the upper house.