Bihar polls: No CM face for BJP, but no dearth of aspirants

  • Binod Dubey, Hindustan Times, Patna
  • Updated: Sep 17, 2015 14:27 IST
Narendra Modi and Bihar BJP leaders waving at the crowd during the Bhagalpur rally during a campaign for the upcoming Bihar elections. (HT Photo/Ravindra)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided not to project a chief ministerial candidate for the Bihar assembly polls because of fears of a caste backlash but its list of potential leaders for the post has kept growing.

Veterans in the BJP, who have served the party in different capacities at the Centre and in the state, feel they should be named as the chief ministerial candidate.

Leading the pack of hopefuls is Sushil Kumar Modi, who served as deputy chief minister in the JD-U-NDA government headed by chief minister Nitish Kumar.

Modi is considered the frontrunner for the top job if the NDA comes to power because of his experience as leader of opposition in the state legislature and his varied administrative experience.

As the deputy chief minister, he handled nine portfolios, including finance in fund-starved Bihar, and headed the GST panel of chief ministers. Modi also has the blessings of top RSS leaders since he had served the organisation as a full-time member from 1977 to 1986.

But there are others like Nand Kishore Yadav, the current leader of opposition in the Bihar assembly and a prominent Yadav face. As convenor of the NDA, he rendered yeoman service in ironing out differences between alliance partners.

A five-term MLA, Yadav has held prominent portfolios like health and road construction in Nitish Kumar’s cabinet.

Senior BJP leader and former minister Prem Kumar, who too is in the fray for the top post, belongs to the EBC. Without mincing words, he has made it clear that as an EBC, he can easily take on the might of the grand alliance.

Union ministers Radha Mohan Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Giriraj Singh are also in contention for the post. Former Union minister and BJP spokesman Syed Shahnawaz Hussain could also be a contender.

Bihar will vote in five phases from October 12 to choose a new 243-member state assembly. The JD-U-RJD alliance, which is backed by the Congress, is locked in a close contest with the BJP and its allies.

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