The next of kin of at least five out of 40 sitting Lok Sabha MPs from Bihar are set to contest the current assembly poll on the tickets of parties other than their own. A few Rajya Sabha MPs are expected to find themselves in the same category soon.
The list, by no means, is complete. Sources in different parties indicated to HT on Saturday that the next of kin of more sittings were expected to join the fray by the time the candidates’ lists for all 243 Assembly seats was out.
Topping the list of MPs blessed with inter-party reach in securing assembly tickets is the ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U). Dispelling the notion of being ‘United’, the party already has four sitting Lok Sabha MPs whose next of kin are poised to contest the poll on the ticket of a rival party.
Dharmendra Kumar Singh, son of JD-U’s Karakat MP Mahabali Singh, has already been declared as the RJD nominee from Chainpur, the Assembly seat earlier held by his father for several terms.
When asked about this incongruity, Mahabali washed his hands of the matter. “Dharmendra (30) is married and a father of two children. I can’t influence his decisions”, he told HT.
Again, Vijay Kumar Ram, son of sitting JD-U Gopalganj MP Purnmasi Ram, is the all-new Congress nominee from Harsiddhi (SC) seat. “What option did he have when the JD-U denied him ticket?” asked Ram Sr.
JD-U Muzaffarpur MP Jai Narayan Nishad’s daughter Rama Nishad was strongly tipped to the Congress nominee from Hajipur, party sources confirmed. Nishad Sr. has already gone public with his criticism of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
The latest rider on the JD-U’s ‘rebellious bandwagon’ is Begusarai MP Monazir Hassan. He has already indicated his wife will be the RJD nominee for Munger, the Assembly seat he had held before he was elected to the Lok Sabha last year.
In addition, Mantu Tiwari, son of JD-U Rajya Sabha MP Shivanand Tiwari, was said to be in the race for the RJD ticket from Brahmpur, Tiwari Sr’s old Assembly seat.
“I am not keeping track of what my son is doing as I am strongly opposed to the idea that he become an RJD candidate. But he’s an adult. There’s not much I can do”, Shivanand told HT.
Finding himself in an identical situation is RJD’s Buxar Lok Sabha MP Jagdanand Singh. His son, Sudhakar Singh, has been declared as the BJP nominee from Ramgarh, Jagdanand’s Assembly seat before he became MP.
RJD sources told HT they were expecting Jagdanand to campaign “against” his son and in favour of the RJD nominee in Ramgarh. However, all four JD-U MPs in ‘kin-in-another-party’ category were expected to favour their next of kin during the poll. Senior JD-U sources indicated action against the erring MPs would be considered “in due time”.
“This is an unprecedented situation. Never before have the close relations of so many sitting MPs become candidates of rival parties”, said P K Sinha, political strategist and spokesman for Lok Morcha, an anti-NDA front.
He said the extent of the rebellion had been contained by the JD-U leadership’s decision to give Assembly tickets to next of kin of three other sitting Lok Sabha MPs.
The JD-U has fielded Jehanabad MP Jagdish Sharma’s son Rahul for his old Ghosi seat, Supaul MP Vishwa Mohan Kumar’s wife Sujata from Pipra and Samastipur MP Maheshwar Hazari’s father Ram Sewak Hazari for the Kalyanpur (SC) seat.
C P Thakur, BJP State president and Rajya Sabha MP, was reportedly trying had to field his son Vivek Thakur for the Bankipore assembly seat in Patna.