Bihar assembly bypolls: Announcement of NDA candidates deferred at the last moment
The much-awaited announcement of NDA candidates for Bihar bypolls on one Lok Sabha and five assembly seats is likely to take place on Sunday after the joint press meet, convened by alliance partners JD (U), BJP and LJP, was called off at the last moment on Friday due to “unavoidable circumstances”. September 30 is the last day for filing nominations.
The October 21 bypolls are being billed as the semifinal to the 2020 assembly elections, likely to be a fierce electoral battle for survival for the grand opposition alliance, mainly comprising of the RJD and the Congress, in Bihar.
In a bid to put up a united face when the opposition alliance was beset with infighting over the leadership role, BJP state vice-president Devesh Kumar and LJP parliamentary board chairman Chirag Paswan were to join JD (U) state president Vashishth Narayan Singh for the joint announcement of NDA candidates on Friday.
Sources in the NDA said too much should not be read into the postponement, done due to ongoing ‘Pitri Paksh’.
“It will be announced on Sunday—a day after the ‘inauspicious’ period to pray for ancestors ends,” they said.
Four of the five assembly seats going to polls were vacated after JD (U) MLAs’ election to the Lok Sabha, similarly Congress’s Md Javed vacated Kishanganj assembly seat after winning the Kishanganj Lok Sabha seat- the only one won by the Grand Alliance. Samstipur Lok Sabha seat fell vacant after sitting LJP MP Ramchandra Paswan’s death.
On Thursday, JD (U) state president said “The JD (U) will contest all its sitting seats of Belhar, Daraunda, Nathnagar and Simri Bakhtiyarpur, while the BJP will contest Kishanganj assembly seat vacated by the Congress. The LJP will field its candidate on its Samastipur Lok Sabha seat,” Singh stated.
Insiders say the BJP has not been very successful in the Kishanganj assembly segment in the past and prefers Nathnagar instead.
LJP is likely to field ex-MP, late Ramchandra Paswan’s son, Prince Kumar on his Samastipur reserved Lok Sabha seat.
JD(U)’s Laldhari Yadav, Ajay Singh, Lakshmikant Mandal and Arun Yadav are the frontrunners for Belhar, Daraunda, Nathnagar and Simri Bakhtiyarpur assembly seats respectively.
Minority dominated Kishanganj seat could go to BJP’s Sweeti Singh, it was represented by her husband in the past.