JD-U’s Sitamarhi nominee surrenders his ticket, party fields BJP import
In a sudden turn of events, JD-U had to change its candidate from Sitamarhi, Dr Varun Kumar, an eminent doctor of Sitamarhi, after expressed his unwillingness to contest.
The reason for sudden change of heart on part of Dr Varun is not known.
Confirming this, JD-U state president Vashishtha Narayan Singh said Sunil Kumar Pintu will be the new party candidate. Pintu had been a BJP MLA for four consecutive terms from 2003 to 2015. However, he will try his luck in Lok Sabha elections on JD-U ticket this time. The election in Sitamarhi is scheduled in the fifth phase on May 6.
“Dr Varun Kumar has expressed his unwillingness to contest. Sunil Kumar Pintu, who was also a minister in the Nitish Kumar cabinet, will fight on JD-U ticket. He has been formally inducted in the party,” Singh said, without elaborating.
According to sources, Dr Varun was in a dilemma after his initial brush with the rough and tumble of electoral politics, as he was not getting the kind of response, especially from senior leaders, he had expected before deciding to contest.
“He met chief minister Nitish Kumar and expressed his desire to return the ticket, conceding it would not be possible for him to contest. He was perhaps not getting full support from National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leaders and being a greenhorn in politics, he decided to give up before even filing nomination,” said a senior leader.
Dr Varun Kumar could not be contacted despite repeated attempts on his mobile number.
On his part, Pintu said it was revitalizing news for him when he got a call early Wednesday morning that the CM wanted to meet me. “I had presented my candidature in my own party from Sitamarhi, but in the seat adjustment, it went to JD-U. It is a kind of divine intervention that has made me a candidate. NDA has sizeable strength in Sitamarhi and its candidate had won both in 2009 and 2014,” he said.
Pintu said it was not always easy in politics for a new comer to immediately settle, as it required one to be in constant touch with the political activists. “The rapport cannot be developed overnight. But it is good that he (Dr Kumar) realised it in the nick of time,” he said.
Sitamarhi MLA Sunil Kumar of the RJD, however, said Pintu’s candidature would make a difference. “The NDA has been forced to change its wrestler after one gave up before the bout. No matter who the wrestler is, Grand Alliance (GA) candidate Arjun Rai will romp home. Now Suri community, to which Dr Varun belongs, will also feel let down,” he said.
It was Sunil Kumar who had defeated Pintu in the 2015 assembly elections.
Arjun Rai had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections on a JD-U ticket, but came a distant third. Rashtriya Lok Samata Party candidate Ram Kumar Sharma had won the seat, while RJD’s Sitaram Yadav finished second. Sharma did not get the ticket this time. Rai had won in 2009 on the JD-U ticket.
RJD leader and former MP from Sitamarhi, Sitaram Yadav, who was planning to contest as an Independent after been denied the party ticket, said he had decided not to fight this time. “For a non-political man, it was always difficult to fight election. Dr Varun is a good doctor, but in politics even his own party men were not supporting him,” he said.
BJP spokesman Nikhil Anand said, “Pintu is a formidable candidate . It is an NDA seat and it will remain with us.”