Council poll contest intensifies as Chirag party announces 1st list of candidates


PATNA: With the Lok Janshakti Party( Ram Vilas) led by Jamui MP Chirag Paswan, formally deciding to fight the 24 seats in the upcoming Council polls, slated to be held on April 4, has made the election to the house of elders a multi-cornered fight with ruling NDA, opposition RJD, and Congress in the fray.

Sounding the poll bugle, the party’s principal general secretary and state parliamentary board memberMayan Moili on Sunday issued a list of five candidates from Gaya, Nalanda, Rohtas, Darbhanga, and Saharsa local area constituencies. The election results will be declared on April 7.

“ We have issued names of five candidates. We might contest more seats as a decision is awaited by the party chief,” said Asraf Ansari, vice president, state LJP( Ram Vilas).

According to people aware of the development, the party might contest in at least 15 out of 24 seats.

The entry of LJP( Ram Vilas), a faction group led by Chirag after a coup in the party last year, has intensified the contest for the 24 seats and is likely to impact poll prospects of both the ruling NDA and RJD, as well as for Congress candidates. “ We are moving on the strategy of ekla chalo ( walk alone). There is a support base for the party in all these constituencies where candidates have been put and we are hopeful of doing well,” said a senior party functionary, considered close to Chirag.

Meanwhile, the disunity in the opposition has become apparent ahead of the Council polls with Congress, ignored in seat distribution by ally Rashtriya Janata Dal ( RJD), declaring eight candidates out of 24 seats on Saturday.

“This is the first list and few more names for other seats are likely to be announced shortly”, said state Congress media in-charge Rajesh Rathore.”, state Congress media in-charge Rajesh Rathore.

The Congress and RJD tiff started last year ahead of the by-polls for two seats when RJD decided to contest Kushweshwar Asthan, ignoring claims of the Congress that the seat should be allotted to it as it has been a traditional seat. While both RJD and Congress lost the two seats in the by-poll, the RJD’s bid to sideline Congress in seat adjustment in Council has widened the differences between the two former allies, who were part of the grand alliance(GA) formed in the run-up to the 2020 assembly polls along with left parties.

Recently, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav told the media how Congress’s poor show was a factor that impacted RJD’s prospects of registering a win in the last assembly polls. He had also justified not allotting seats to Congress for Council polls stating that the party does not have enough votes to win the election.

On his part, Tejashwi has reasoned that RJD continues to share a bond with Congress on common ideology, but it is the regional parties that should be on the driver’s seat in states where they are strong, putting it as the logic behind RJD’s bid to take a unilateral decision of contesting majority of seats in the Council polls.

The Council polls, for the 24 seats, are being held after the term of former legislators had expired in July last year. The elections were delayed since fresh panchayats and urban local bodies could not be elected within time owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the last Council polls, half of the seats had been won by the BJP while JD(U) had won eight. The RJD held two while another seat was won by an independent candidate.

Significantly, the BJP and JD(U) of the ruling NDA have not declared the list of candidates though a seat-sharing formula has been reached among the constituents. The BJP will contest 13 seats while 11 seats will be contested by JD(U). However, smaller constituents of the NDA, Vikashsheel Insaan Party( VIP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) have expressed resentment over being ignored in the seat-sharing formula.

. Meanwhile, state BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal while speaking to news agency ANI on Sunday said that the party will contest 12 seats in the upcoming Council elections in Bihar. “No issues on any seat with JD(U). BJP will contest 12 seats in the MLC election”, said Jaiswal

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