Shahnawaz Hussain, Mukesh Sahni set to become Bihar MLCs unopposed
- No other person has filed nomination against Shahnawaz Hussain and Mukesh Sani in view of the obvious majority of the National Democratic Alliance in the state legislature
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national spokesman and former Union minister Syed Shahnawaz Hussain and Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) chief Mukesh Sahni on Monday filed their nominations for bye-elections for the Bihar legislative council.
Hussain is set to be elected to fill up the vacancy caused by former deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi in the legislative council after his election to Rajya Sabha in December last year. Sahni, who was sworn in as the minister of animal husbandry department in the Nitish Kumar cabinet, is set to be elected to replace Vinod Narayan Jha who had won the assembly election.
Both the leaders are set to be elected unopposed as no other person filed nomination against them in view of the obvious majority of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the state legislature. Monday was the last date of nomination. As the election will be held separately, those having a majority in the lower house would have the convincing advantage in case of voting.
Officials of the state legislature said that Hussain, who was first elected to Lok Sabha in 1999 and became a minister in the Union cabinet, would serve as the MLC for a period of almost three and a half years (till May 6, 2024). Sahni, who shed his initial reluctance to become the MLC for a truncated tenure on Union home minister Amit Shah’s intervention, would replace Jha in the council and thereby remain as a member of the upper house for one and half years (till July 21, 2022).
Chief minister Nitish Kumar, his deputies Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi, RS member Sushil Kumar Modi, state BJP chief Sanjay Jaisawal, MLC and BJP national media in-charge Sanjay Mayukh were present at the Patna divisional office during the filing of nominations of the two leaders.
Kumar congratulated both the leaders on their nominations and said that all four constituents of NDA had been working in close cooperation and would remain so in future. The CM, however, parried a reply to the journalists’ query about the much-awaited cabinet expansion.
Usually, nominations for the legislative council elections are filed before the secretary of the legislative assembly, who also serves as the returning officer of the election.
However, the Patna divisional commissioner was notified as the returning officer by the Election Commission of India (ECI), as the current assembly secretary Bateshwar Nath Pandey is scheduled to retire within six months.
Hussain, who was re-elected to Lok Sabha twice from Bhagalpur, is believed to have been picked by the BJP to offer a formidable face in state politics after Modi was elected to the Rajya Sabha. Many senior BJP leaders said that Hussain might be inducted as a minister in Nitish Kumar’s cabinet which is expected to be expanded later this month. There is no minister from Muslim community, who constitute a sizable chunk of electors in the state.
“I am a soldier of the party and willing to serve in any position the party deems fit for me,” Husain told reporters.
But many opposition leaders, including Congress leader Prem Chandra Mishra took a swipe at the BJP for “downgrading” Hussain’s status by nominating him for the Bihar legislative council.
VIP leaders said that Sahni agreed to become the MLC for a residual term after Union minister Shah asked him to file the nomination and avoid offering fodder to the opposition.
The VIP chief has been assured another berth in the council from the governor’s quota. Twelve seats in the upper house have been lying vacant for the past several months for want of recommendations from the state government.
Officials of the state legislature said that both Hussain and Sahni would be declared elected unopposed on January 21, the last date for withdrawal of nomination.
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