The Election Commission is yet to declare the schedule for Rajya Sabha polls for the six seats from Bihar but political parties have geared up to explore right calculations to grab the maximum number of seats. Out of six seats, one seat of rebel JD(U) leader Ali Anwar, is already vacant while five other members—two of BJP and three from JD(U)—are scheduled to retire on April 2.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar was in Delhi for the last two days. Party sources told The Hindu that he had a meeting with party’s long-time RS member Mahendra Prasad alias King Mahendra and RCP Singh on Tuesday evening at Bihar Bhawan to discuss the RS poll prospects. Mahendra Prasad’s term too is set to end on April 2.
After Nitish Kumar dumped the RJD to join hands with BJP again in July 2017, the political situation in the State too changed with numbers in the State Assembly. “Yes, in the present scenario of number games, for the ruling alliance of BJP and JD(U) it will be difficult to wrest the seats falling vacant”, admitted a BJP leader.
Besides Ali Anwar, the other five members set to retire on April 2 are BJP leaders and union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Ravi Shankar Prasad and from JD(U) Mahendra Prasad alias King Mahendra, Bashistha Narain Singh and Anil Kumar Sahni.
In 243 strength of Bihar assembly, RJD has 79 members, JD(U) 71, BJP 52 while Congress has 27 members. A candidate will need support of at least 35 MLAs to win the RS seat. In the present situation, RJD would win two seats comfortably with nine surplus votes to be transferred to the alliance partner Congress.
“It would be interesting to see if RJD would like to transfer its nine surplus votes to the Congress party or bargain with Congress for the third seat as well or, there would be cross voting by the Congress legislators”, said political analyst Ajay Kumar..
A section of the Congress leaders led by former State president Ashok Choudhury are said to be close to chief minister Nitish Kumar and have been feeling sidelined in the present state party leadership under party president (in-charge) Kaukab Quadri, he added further. Both the RJD and Congress have not declared names of their candidates for the RS poll but RJD’s national general secretary Shivanand Tiwari is likely to be one party candidate.
However, the ruling party JD(U) too can easily win two seats with one surplus vote. The party, though, has not decided yet whether it would retain its retiring members or send new faces to the Upper House.
Speculation in political circle is rife that chief minister Nitish Kumar and Mahendra Prasad would be the two party candidates as Mr. Kumar could be shifted to Delhi in a new role. Of late, Mr. Kumar has been provided Z-plus security and a top-bracket bungalow in Lutyen’s Delhi.
“Its all rumour…why should Nitish Kumar would go to Delhi? The State assembly has a fiv- year term and the poll will be held in 2020…such rumors are being spread by opposition party RJD to destabilize our party and party MLAs but they will not succeed in their game plan”, said a JD(U) leader.
However, it would be a difficult position for the BJP as the party has 52 MLAs. Two of its senior leaders and union ministers are retiring. In this case, the party may decide to shift one of them, most likely Dharmendra Pradhan, to another S tate, said a party leader.
Courtesy: The Hindu