PATNA: The JD-U caught everyone by surprise by giving poll ticket to Kumari Manju Varma, the former Bihar social welfare minister and one of the accused of the infamous Muzaffarpur shelter home rape cases, in its list of 115 candidates announced on Wednesday.
Varma was given the poll ticket despite being jailed for her role in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case. She has again been fielded from Cheria-Bariarpur Assembly segment in Begusarai from where she had been twice elected in 2010 and 2015.
The shelter home case was handed over to the CBI, which had recovered a huge cache of ammunitions from her residence. Manju Varma and her husband were booked in an Arms Act case. Varma had evaded arrest for three months before she had surrendered before the police. She had denied all charges brought against her during trial in the case.
Another prominent candidate is Sunil Kumar, former DG, who will contest from Bhore assembly segment in Gopalganj district. Kumar had joined the JD-U soon after retiring, reposing faith in the leadership of Nitish Kumar. Maintaining social engineering, the ruling JD-U has fielded 15 Muslim candidates while giving tickets to more than 10 Yadav and the rest to Kurmi, Dalits as well as the upper castes.
Meanwhile, RJD president Lalu Prasad's 'samdhi' Chandrika Roy has been nominated by the JD(U) from his traditional Parsa assembly seat, but name of the former DGP Gupteshwar Pandey is missing from the list of 115 candidates released by the party on Wednesday.
The JD(U) released list of the candidates at a press conference addressed by state president Basistha Narayan Singh, party leader in Rajya Sabha RCP Singh and its state working president Ashok Choudhary.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar headed party has already allocated seven seats out of its quota of 122 seats in the 243-member assembly to its associate partner Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi.
Roy, father of Tej Pratap Yadav's estranged wife Aishwarya, had recently switched over to the JD(U) from RJD.
Roy, son of former chief minister Daroga Prasd Rai and a minister in the RJD government in the past as well in the 2015 Grand Alliance ministry, will be in fray from Parsa constituency in Saran district which he has represented six times in the past.
The name of the former state police chief Gupteshwar Pandey, who took VRS last month and later was given membership of the JD(U) by the chief minister himself, is missing from the list of nominees made public during the day.
Buxar, hometown of Pandey and Shahpur constituency from where it was speculated in the media that he might contest the state polls have gone to the BJP under seat-sharing formula.
The JD(U) got two seats in the Buxar district- Dumraon and Rajpur (reserved SC)-where it named Anjum Ara and state minister Santosh Kumar Nirala respectively.
Kumar's party has yet not named anybody for the Valmiki Nagar Lok Sabha seat which will see by-election on November 7.
The by-poll has been necessitated due to death of JD(U0 sitting MP Baidyanath Mahto.
There was hectic speculations in the media about chance of the former DGP being fielded from there.
Pandey, who had hit the national headlines in the death case of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, hopes now rest on Valmiki Nagar bypolls or a berth in the legislative council in future.
Though Pandey could not find place in the JD(U)'s list, his former police colleague Sunil Kumar, who retired as Director General (Home Guards) recently has been nominated by the JD(U) from Bhore (reserved seat) in Gopalganj district.
Majority of the ministers and turncoats have been given ticket by the JD(U).
Speaker of the outgoing assembly Vijay Kumar Chaudhary will contest from his traditional seat Saraiganj in Samastipur district.
Ministers- Bijendra Prasad Yadav, Ram Sevak Singh, Shrawan Kumar, Jai Kumar Singh, Bima Bharti, Madan Sahni, Khursheed Firoz Ahmad, Shailesh Kumar and Krishnandan Prasad Varma have been repeated from their old constituencies.
Jaivardhan Singh Yadav, grandson of former Bihar minister and a powerful yadav leader Ramlakhan Singh Yadav has been given ticket from his old seat Paliganj while Faraz Fatmi has been named from Darbhanga rural seat.
Both had left RJD and joined JD(U) recently.
The two RLSP MLAs-Lallan Paswan and Sudhansu Sekhar- who had crossed over to Kumar's party have also been renominated.
HAM has already named its seven candidates.
Jitan Ram Manjhi filed his nomination Wednesday from Imamganj (reserved SC) seat.
Former Bihar DGP gets no ticket, disappointed
Gupteshwar Pandey, who had recently taken VRS, was left disappointed as his name did not figure in the list of candidates.
On Wednesday late night, Pandey posted on his Facebook account that he will be not be contesting polls this time. He consoled his followers saying there is nothing to be upset.
(With PTI Inputs)