NDA likely names BJP nominee for Rajya Sabha bypoll, LJP indifferent
The NDA partners in Bihar have started clandestine talks to present a joint candidate, preferably from the BJP, to fill a Rajya Sabha post that was vacated after the death of LJP founder and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
The reason the BJP is likely to get the seat despite the Chirag Paswan-led LJP having a natural claim is said to be the objections raised by the Janata Dal (United) who are extremely upset with the scion of 38-year-old Paswan who pitted candidates against his nominees in the recent assembly election. The LJP played the spoilsport role to reduce the JD (U) tally to just 43 seats.
Paswan’s term in the Rajya Sabha was until April 2, 2024. This means that the new incumbent would have a term of almost four years.
Sources said the JD (U) leadership has already hinted to the BJP about their reservations about the LJP nominee amid speculation that Chirag was initially interested in making his mother Reena Paswan the candidate for the seat arguing that it would be a fair tribute to the deceased former union. minister who had shared a close bond with the BJP until his end.
“The JD (U) at no cost would support an LJP candidate. There are certain reservations in this regard and we support them, ”said a senior JD (U) official who did not want to be named.
The BJP, knowing well how important the JD (U) is to the NDA that it has a small majority in the 243-member chamber, is in no mood to upset Prime Minister Nitish Kumar and has almost decided to put his candidate on for the seat. A JD (U) candidate cannot be ruled out for now, although the JD (U) pocketed two seats out of three the NDA won against five vacant Bihar seats in Rajya Sabha’s polls last March.
The BJP is also not in the mood to give LJP the seat that was in the saffron party kitty until Ravishankar Prasad was chosen for the Lok Sabha. “This is our seat. The late Ramvilas ji was adjusted in our seat due to the formula developed during the Lok Sabha elections, as the late leader enjoyed the respect of all NDA leaders, ”clarified a BJP state official.
Even the LJP camp, aware of its limitations in lobbying for its own nominee, has apparently sent polls to the BJP that any candidate on its side would be acceptable to the party. “We have let Prime Minister Narendra Modi decide on the candidate. The LJP has been reiterating that the party is with the BJP in the Center, ”said the party’s state spokesman, Asraf Ansari.
Significantly, the names of many BJP candidates are circulating for the seat, including former Union Minister Shahnawaz Hussain and former Senior Deputy Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, whose candidacy for the RS post is based on the perception that the BJP leader It was not this time he was granted the post of deputy CM and could be conveniently located in the cabinet of the Union. Shahnawaj is also a strong candidate who has waited a long time for a position at RS.
“I am not aware of any movement regarding my candidacy for the post of RS. I cannot comment on speculation, ”Modi said, when asked about the likelihood that he is the BJP candidate for the vacant seat in the upper house of Parliament.
However, BJP sources say that an element of surprise in Rajya Sabha’s polls cannot be ruled out, such as it was in the case of the CM deputy post.
As things stand, there is a chance that the nominee for the NDA RS seat, who could easily win the seat with 126 MLA, up from the 122 required to advance the election, will be decided in the next few days after the first session of the 17th assembly concludes on Friday.
The possibilities that the opposition, led by the RJD, will present a candidate cannot be ruled out, given the way in which it cornered the state government in the election of the president by presenting its own candidate. Should the GA place a candidate for the RS seat, the election would be no less a close end as cross-voting possibilities cannot be ruled out, which could put the ruling NDA in trouble.