RS polls: RS Prasad among 6 file nomination in Bihar, set to get elected uncontested

With just six candidates for six seats, polling may not be required for Rajya Sabha candidates from Bihar.

patna Updated: Mar 12, 2018 19:32 IST
Arun Kumar
Arun Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
RS Polls,Bihar,RJD
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad filing his nomination paper for Rajya Sabha elections in the presence of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi at Bihar Assembly in Patna on Monday.(PTI)

All six candidates for six Rajya Sabha seats in Bihar filed their nominations on Monday and are set to be elected uncontested. Polling is scheduled for March 23, but with just six candidates for six seats, it may not be required at all.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) candidates Manoj Jha and Ashfaque Karim were the first to file their nominations. While Manoj Jha is a professor at Delhi University and national spokesman of the RJD, Ashfaque Karim is the managing director of Katihar Medical College and Hospital.

Former CM Rabri Devi accompanied the two party candidates for filing the nominations.

Former Union minister Akhilesh Prasad Singh, the Congress candidate, was the next to file nomination. It is the first time since 2002 that the Congress, an ally of the RJD, will send a member to the Rajya Sabha from Bihar. R K Dhawan was the last Rajya Sabha member from the state, though there was a time when Bihar alone sent up to four members of the Congress to the upper house of Parliament.

Later on Monday, ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) candidate and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad filed his papers. The BJP’s ally Janata Dal-United (JD-U) retained its candidates from Bihar — Bashishth Narain Singh and tycoon Mahendra Prasad. popularly known as King Mahendra, who also filed their papers.

Prasad later said that the BJP was in the government in 21 states of the country, with 15 chief ministers of their own. “It is all because of people’s trust and we will continue to work to live up to people’s expectations by working with honesty and integrity. In Bihar, the government under Nitish Kumar is working for a change in the state and we will together take it forward,” he added.

While there is only one Muslim candidate from the Grand Alliance in the fray, five others are from the upper caste. There is none from the Dalit, extremely backward classes, other backward classes or women categories this time from any party.

RJD’s Manoj Jha said the party had sent a clear message this time that theirs is not a party of Muslims and Yadavs only as some people have projected it. “It is a party of the poor and downtrodden. There is a clear message that those who believe in broadening the horizon of social justice should come together. It is a fight between those who believe in the Constitution and those who want to decimate it,” he added.

On the RJD not fielding anyone from the Dalit or EBC/BC category, Jha said it was high time politics moved away from symbolism. “My surname may be ‘Jha’, but I don’t support Manuvadi tradition,” he added, expressing gratitude to RJD chief Lalu Prasad for nominating him as RS candidate.

Congress candidate Akhilesh Singh, whose name was approved by Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday morning, exuded optimism that he had the backing of 40 legislators and would wrest the seat by the largest margin. He dismissed the remarks of former Bihar Congress president Ashok Choudhary, who is now in JD-U, that a split was imminent in the Congress. “I thank the Congress president and Sonia Gandhi for reposing faith in me,” Singh said.

Having faced desertion of four out of its six Bihar legislative council members earlier this month, the Congress was considered vulnerable in the event of a contest for the sixth seat. But the poll arithmetic in the Bihar Vidhan Sabha and RJD’s surplus votes prevented it.

To win a Rajya Sabha seat, each candidate will require 35 votes. Based on party strengths, the six Rajya Sabha seats are evenly divided between the NDA and the UPA. The Congress with 27 MLAs, is banking on the RJD which has nine surplus members with 79 MLAs. JD-U has just as much (70 seats) to secure victory of its two candidates, while the BJP with 52 seats has 17 extra members.

Three seats are currently vacant in the 243-member .Bihar assembly.

First Published: Mar 12, 2018 18:51 IST