Veteran socialist leader George Fernandes, denied a ticket by the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), on Wednesday filed his nomination papers as an independent candidate from Muzaffarpur constituency in Bihar, hours after he was reported to have taken ill.
Fernandes, 78, was accompanied by JD-U MP Digvijay Singh, former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra, former MP Ram Jeevan Singh and dozens of other socialist leaders. Besides, hundreds of his supporters were present when he filed the papers.
Fernandes had earlier said he would not fight as an independent but as a party candidate. He arrived in Patna on Tuesday from New Delhi and left soon for Muzaffarpur, 70 km from Patna.
The JD-U denied him a nomination on the grounds of his "advancing years and failing health".
But Fernandes said some people were behind spreading rumours that he was not well and insisted he could contest elections. "It is a big lie, I am healthy," he said.
However, on early Wednesday, he was reported to be feeling weak.
"Fernandes was unwell last night, and when he got up he avoided his morning walk. He suffered a bad stomach and felt weak," Ram Jeevan Singh said.
The official JD-U candidate from Muzaffarpur, Jai Prakash Nishad, is effectively facing a revolt within the party and from workers of alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party.