The tug-of-war between the Janata Dal (United) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the ensuing Rajya Sabha polls came out in the open when chief minister Nitish Kumar staked his claim on four out of the six seats for which elections are scheduled on March 30.
While the BJP has staked its claim on three seats, the chief minister on Tuesday said his party would like to contest four seats.
“We will like to contest the sixth seat of Rajya Sabha,” he told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
With 118 MLAs, the JD (U) can easily win three seats and it will have at least 13 surplus votes, as altogether 35 votes would be required for winning a seat this time.
The BJP, on the other hand, with 91 MLAs, can easily win two seats. It will be left with 21 surplus votes and can hope to bag a third seat if its alliance partner, the JD (U), transfers its surplus votes to the BJP.
The state BJP has already held preliminary discussions on the names of prospective candidates for the forthcoming elections.
The BJP core committee and its central election committee are likely to decide the names of party candidates shortly.
The Opposition—RJD, Congress, LJP and CPI—also plans to field a common candidate for the sixth seat. The opposition together has 28 MLAs, and would require seven votes to bag the seat.
Some big names, such as leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, are doing the rounds for nomination from the BJP quota this time, while Ravi Shankar Prasad may retain his seat.
JD (U)’s state president Vashistha Narayan Singh, state agriculture minister Narendra Singh and rural development minister Bhim Singh are being tipped as JD (U) candidates.