Patna: With the Election Commission (EC) announcing on Saturday that the by-election for 10 Bihar assembly seats will be held on August 21, stage is set for the first major test of ties between the RJD and JD(U). With Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar becoming strong advocates of alliance of secular and social justice forces to defeat the communal forces (read BJP), the two parties are likely to contest five seats each, said sources here. The two leaders are expected to talk on the seats to be contested by their respective parties shortly.
According to the EC announcement, nominations will be filed between July 26 and August 2, polling will be held on August 21 and counting of votes will take place on August 25.
The constituencies going for bypolls are: Narkatiaganj, Chhapra, Hajipur, Jale, Rajnagar, Mohiuddinagar, Banka, Parbatta, Bhagalpur and Mohania. These seats had fallen vacant following the resignations of the MLAs concerned, who were either elected to Lok Sabha or had quit their seats to join the ruling JD(U).
According to sources, the bone of contention between the RJD and JD(U) are likely to be Parbatta, Rajnagar and Banka seats as the three sitting RJD MLAs had joined JD(U) last month. The RJD is insisting on the three seats which it won in 2010 and the JD(U) wants to contest them too.
Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi told TOI on Saturday, “We (the BJP, LJP and RLSP) will contest the assembly by-election together.” The issue of alliance will be discussed at the BJP’s state executive committee meeting here on Sunday.
In the 2010 assembly election, BJP had won seven out of these 10 seats and trailed by 1,500 votes in two other ? Banka and Rajnagar. The party did not contest Parbatta as it was given to JD(U), its alliance partner at that time. Five sitting BJP MLAs were elected to Lok Sabha in May while two of its MLAs, Vijay Kumar Mishra and Rana Gangeshwar joined the JD(U) last month.
JD(U) spokesman Dr Ajay Alok said on Saturday, “So far there is no concrete proposal for an alliance between the JD(U) and RJD. The party state executive committee will meet here on Sunday and names of the candidates may be decided.”