Bihar Bypolls RJD announces Tarapur Kusheshwar Asthan assembly seats candidates
The Rashtriya Janata Dal on Sunday announced its by-election candidates for Bihar’s Tarapur and Kusheshwar Asthan assembly segments in what is seen as a disapproval of Congress, its junior ally, seeking to contest one of the seats.
At a press conference jointly addressed by State RJD President Jagadanand Singh, National General Secretary Alok Mehta and State Spokespersons Mrityunjay, the names of Arun Kumar Sah and Ganesh Bharti were announced for Tarapur and Kusheshwar Asthan respectively.
By-elections for the two seats, won by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), were necessitated by the deaths of the incumbents.
Unlike the NDA, which painted a picture of cohesion two days ago when the leaders of all voters jointly announced the coalition candidates, the RJD, which heads the five-party Grand Alliance, declared the nominees without any of the partners by her side.
Kusheshwar Asthan, a reserved seat in Darbhanga district, was contested by the Congress in the assembly polls last year when it lost the seat by a margin of less than 7,000 votes.
While the party has so far not commented on the development, congressional sources confirmed that there were plans to include Ashok Ram, the candidate in the polls, or a close relative.
RJD sources said the decision to contest both seats followed Congress’s “dismal” performance in the assembly seats as it fought 70, won less than 20 and was blamed by all partners for the Grand Alliance not having had a majority.
Meanwhile, the BJP has come up with a different take on the development that is likely to strain Congress-RJD ties.
“The RJD is nervous about attempts by the Congress to come out of its shadow by hiring people like Kanhaiya Kumar,” BJP spokesman and national general secretary of the party’s OBC wing, Nikhil Anand, said in a statement. .
“The RJD has killed two birds with one stone by announcing its candidates for both seats. It has shown the Congress its place in the state and also removed any possibility that Tejashwi and Kanhaiya would share the podium at mid-term polls,” Anand said.
The perceived rivalry between Tejashwi Yadav and Kanhaiya is a matter of much speculation in Bihar political circles.
It is widely believed that Yadav is not very comfortable with the former JNU student leader, who is an upper caste and known for his crowd pleasers.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, when Kanhaiya was polled by the CPI from his hometown of Begusarai, the RJD had nominated one of its veteran leaders Tanveer Hasan, causing a split in anti-BJP votes and the Union minister Giriraj Singh had helped win the seat by a staggering margin of over four lakh votes.
The RJD was rumored to have gone for the move as it was wary of Kanhaiya bursting onto the national political scene with an election victory, which would have helped him wash away the blemish of the sedition case that was the first time he made headlines. .
Both the CPI and Congress are junior partners of the RJD in Bihar. In Congress, however, the fiery young leader is expected to gain far more exposure than would have been possible in the moribund left party.
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