The JD(U) leadership’s decision to deny Rajya Sabha re-nomination to the party’s three retiring MPs has triggered a rebellion by Shivanand Tiwari, the most vocal of the three.
Tiwari alleged on Wednesday that chief minister Nitish Kumar wanted him to contest the Lok Sabha elections (from Buxar in south central Bihar) just to ensure his defeat.
An obviously aggrieved Tiwary shot off a letter to the state JD(U) president Bashistha Narayan Singh, saying that the proposal was not aimed at ensuring his victory but his defeat.
The state JD(U) president had issued an ultimatum to all the three sitting Rajya Sabha MPs to decide within three days whether or not they would contest the Lok Sabha seats offered to them.
"No offer is there for an unlimited period. Two more days are left for them to decide," Singh said.
While Tiwary was asked to contest from Buxar, of the other two retiring JD(U) Rajya Sabha members, NK Singh was offered Banka and Sabir Ali, the Sheohar Lok Sabha seat.
Tiwary ruled out the possibility of contesting the Lok Sabha elections as a JD (U) nominee. "How can I think of contesting the elections from a party, whose leader (Nitish Kumar) abhors me to the extent of hatred and who had mercilessly sacrificed two other sitting MPs just to scuttle my chances," he said.
He said, the ultimatum issued by the party leadership was 'shocking' because he had already spurned the offer on January 22 when he was asked to contest from Buxar Lok Sabha seat instead of being re-nominated for the Rajya Sabha.
"My allegations were proved (true) when Kumar, during a party function recently, said that those who believed that the party has been weakened should come forward and contest the Lok Sabha elections. The issue of party's failing health was raised by me at the party’s Rajgir conclave. Why did he then deny nomination to N K Singh and Sabir Ali?" Tiwary asked.
Tiwary said the case of Sabir Ali's denial was beyond comprehension, as he was elected to Rajya Sabha as LJP candidate and quit in the middle of his term to be re-elected as a JD (U) member.
"Ali was also promised in the presence of senior leaders in New Delhi, that he would be re-nominated. He was also used to the hilt during the Delhi assembly polls. But he was eventually treated shabbily by the leadership," Tiwary added.
Another retiring JD (U) MP N K Singh is yet to decide on the party's offer to contest from Banka Lok Sabha seat. "No comments" he said on Wednesday, when reached for his response to the ultimatum issued by the JD-U.
Sabir Ali, who was asked to contest from Sheohar, had a brief meeting with the chief minister on Tuesday during the filing of nomination papers by the party's new nominees.
However, sources close to him said that Ali was yet to make up his mind on whether or not he should contest from Sheohar.