2024 Lok Sabha polls: Buzz gets louder of Nitish picking Phulpur to fight - Hindustan Times
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2024 Lok Sabha polls: Buzz gets louder of Nitish picking Phulpur to fight

By, Patna
Aug 03, 2023 09:52 PM IST

JD(U) chief spokesperson K C Tyagi said it would be matter of pride if Nitish Kumar contests from Phulpur seat.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who has played an instrumental role in the formation of the new Opposition bloc INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) against the BJP, could fight the 2024 parliamentary elections from Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh or any other seat in the eastern part of the neighbouring state, according to top leaders of his party, the Janata Dal (United).

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar (HT Photo)
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar (HT Photo)

While speculation about Kumar entering the Lok Sabha fray from Phulpur, a constituency represented by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, has been rife for some time, clear hints to this effect were dropped by Bihar’s rural development minister Shravan Kumar, a key aide of the CM who has just returned from UP.

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The minister told reporters in Patna on Wednesday, “I had visited UP and attended party events. Our party workers want CM Kumar to contest from either Phulpur or Pratapgarh, Fatehpur or Ambedhkar Nagar. It is for the party to decide.”

On Thursday, JD(U) chief spokesperson K C Tyagi said it would be matter of pride if Nitish Kumar contests from Phulpur seat. “It will have resonance in many constituencies in eastern UP, having largely a OBC population, including Kurmis ( CM Kumar’s caste) and Yadavs.

“In 1962, Phulpur seat was contested by socialist Ram Manohar Lohia against Nehru. It is an important seat for socialists and that’s why people of UP and party workers want CM Kumar to contest from there,” Tyagi said adding that a final decision, however, rested with the chief minister.

“If he contests from any seat in UP, especially in eastern parts, it would send a big political message and consolidate our vote bank. The Samajwadi Party too wants him to contest from a seat in UP,” Tyagi said.

Bihar Congress legislature party leader Shakeel Ahmed Khan said it would be good if Nitish Kumar contests from UP. “He has played a key role in formation of INDIA. He has wide acceptability and UP is a neighbouring state,” Khan said.

The BJP response was on expected lines. “Is CM Kumar running away from Bihar? He has already ruined Bihar,” said state BJP president Samrat Choudhary.

Leader of Opposition in Bihar assembly, Vijay Kumar Sinha of the BJP, said in a press statement on Thursday that JD(U) is deliberately creating a buzz to project CM Kumar as a PM candidate by pushing theories that party workers want him to contest from Phulpur.

“In 2022 UP assembly polls, JD(U) had lost its deposits in the majority of seats it contested. Nitish Kumar has been sidelined in the Opposition bloc. He has not even been made its convener, as being speculated,” Sinha said.

After becoming the Bihar chief minister in 2005, Nitish Kumar hasn’t fought assembly or parliamentary elections, choosing to remain a member of legislative council (MLC) since 2006. His current term as MLC ends on May 6, 2024.

However, he has represented Barh parliamentary constituency five times and once represented Nalanda parliamentary seat, from where he was elected in 2004.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    A journalist for 21 years, Anirban covers RJD, legislature and government beats. Has extensive experience in covering elections and writes regularly on finance, land reforms, registration, excise and socio-economic issues.

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