PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) national president Nitish Kumar and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi of BJP were among seven leaders who filed nomination papers on Monday for the biennial polls to the state Legislative Council.
Both Kumar and Modi have been members of the Upper House in Bihar ever since the NDA coalition of JD(U) and BJP first came to power in the state in 2005.
Health minister Mangal Pandey and former Union minister Sanjay Paswan also filed nomination papers for BJP. Rameshwar Mahto and Khalid Anwar filed the papers for JD(U). Senior Congress leader Premchandra Mishra also filed the nomination papers. Monday was the last date for filing of nomination papers for the April 26 polls for 11 vacant seats in the state’s Upper House.
The terms of nine MLCs are ending on May 6 while two seats were lying vacant. MLCs whose terms were ending are Nitish Kumar, Sushil Kumar Modi, Mangal Pandey, Leader of Opposition in the Upper House, Rabri Devi of RJD, Sanjay Singh, Upendra Prasad, Chandeshwar Prasad Chandravanshi and Raj Kishore Singh Kushwaha of JD(U) and Lalbabu Prasad of BJP.
JD(U), which can win three seats on its own strength in the state Assembly, picked two new faces – Rameshwar Mahto and Khalid Anwar. The omission of Sanjay Singh, the party’s chief state spokesperson and sitting MLC, was surprising for many. Sources said Nitish Kumar cleared the final list after deliberations with state party chief Bashistha Narayan Singh.
Similarly, BJP dropped Lalbabu Prasad and made the surprise choice of senior leader Sanjay Paswan, a move seen by many as the saffron party’s alacrity to woo the state’s Dalits.
Twenty-one votes of MLAs are required for electing one MLC in Bihar. While RJD has 81 MLAs, JD(U) has 70, BJP 53 and Congress 27.
Ex-CM Rabri Devi, RJD state president Ram Chandra Purbey, Khurshid Mohsin and Santosh Manjhi, who is the son of former CM and HAM chief Jitan Ram Manjhi, filed their nomination papers on Saturday. Santosh Manjhi filed his nomination papers on the RJD symbol.