Ravi Shankar Prasad, five others file nomination for Rajya Sabha polls from Bihar; NDA, UPA to get 3 berths each
BJP's Ravi Shankar Prasad, whose tenure in the Rajya Sabha ends on April 2, filed his nomination papers along with two JD(U) candidates Bashishtha Narayan Singh and Mahendra Prasad.
PATNA: Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad of BJP and five other leaders on Monday filed nomination papers for the six Rajya Sabha seats falling vacant from Bihar, thus assuring the ruling NDA and the Opposition UPA of three seats each and warding off chances of an election being held.
The ruling JD(U)’s state unit chief Bashistha Narayan Singh and Mahendra Prasad alias King Mahendra, both sitting RS members, also filed nomination papers in presence of party chief and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The main Opposition RJD picked national spokesperson Manoj Jha and Ashfaq Karim, two new faces for the Upper House, who also filed their nomination papers in presence of senior RJD leader and former CM Rabri Devi.
For Congress, which has sent no MP to Rajya Sabha from Bihar since 2002, former Union minister Akhilesh Prasad Singh filed the nomination papers. Since there was no seventh claimant for the six vacant seats, Singh is assured of a victory with support of RJD legislators.
In Bihar’s 243-member Assembly, a candidate for Rajya Sabha seats needs the votes of 35 MLAs. The effective strength of the Assembly now is 240. Congress, having 27 MLAs, has been assured of the support of the nine surplus votes of its ally RJD, which has 79 MLAs. The ruling JD(U) and BJP have 70 and 52 MLAs respectively.
While it is going to be the fourth term in the Upper House for Ravi Shankar Prasad, JD(U)’s King Mahendra is being elected there for the seventh term. The ageing tycoon was found having difficulty hearing and speaking. In the past nine years, he has asked only one question in Rajya Sabha.
RJD’s selection of names left three senior leaders disappointed. Former CM and HAM chief Jitan Ram Manjhi, who quit NDA and joined RJD-Congress grand alliance recently, was widely expected to be nominated by RJD to RS. Similarly, national vice-presidents Shivanand Tiwari and Raghuvansh Prasad Singh were also among the contenders. But RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, currently lodged in a Rachi jail following his conviction in the fodder scam cases, cleared the two new faces.
Manoj Jha, a professor at Delhi Unversity, joined RJD in 2010 and has since been a vocal supporter of RJD’s social justice plank in television debates. Ashfaq Karim, who was previously with LJP and Congress, is the founder-cum-MD of the Katihar Medical College and Hospital.