PATNA: Political lobbying seems to be at peak since political parties are looking to fill five Rajya Sabha seats with their own candidates that are lying vacant till April from Bihar. The biennial election for the Rajya Sabha seats is likely to be held in March. Five vacancies are likely to happen in Bihar following the retirement of Harivansh, Kahkashan Perween, Ram Nath Thakur, trio from the JD(U), CP Thakur and RK Sinha (both from BJP) on April 9 this year.
Members of the state legislative assembly cast vote for the election of the Rajya Sabha members. In Bihar, the first preferential vote of 42 legislators would be required for a candidate’s entry into the Rajya Sabha.
As per the strength of different parties present in the 243-member state assembly, Lalu Prasad’s RJD has 81 MLAs and with support of smaller allies would be able to get its two nominees elected to the Rajya Sabha.
Similarly, the JD(U) and the BJP with the combined strength of 124 legislators and support of two MLAs of LJP, would be able to get their three nominees elected to the upper house of the Parliament.
Since the JD(U) has the highest 70 MLAs and the BJP 54 in the state assembly, Nitish Kumar’s party would naturally field two nominees and the saffron party one, for the coming biennial election.
Thus, the RJD would have a gain of two seats while the JD(U) and the BJP each will lose one seat.
Since the RJD is all set to gain two seats, there is a comparatively long queue of aspirants in Lalu camp than other parties.
“Three aspirants recently called on Lalu Prasad, currently admitted at the RIMS, on different dates on the plea of inquiring about the health of the ailing leader,” an RJD leader said.
Insiders in the RJD said, “Senior leaders like Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Jagdanand Singh, Shivanand Tiwari, Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav and Bulo Mandal are prime contenders for the Rajya Sabha seat”
The party’s sitting Rajya Sabha member Prem Chand Gupta, who was last elected from Jharkhand, also met Lalu in Ranchi recently.
Gupta, insiders said, “He has had staked his claim on one of the two RS seats of the RJD from Bihar. Gupta’s current term in the Rajya Sabha is expiring on April 9 this year and this time he wants his entry in the upper house through Bihar, sources in the RJD said.”
Chitranjan Gagan RJD’s spokesperson on Wednesday issued a statement “RJD has numerous senior leaders who really deserve to be sent to the Rajya Sabha. Any decision regarding selection of candidates will be taken by the party’s top leaders like Lalu Prasad and Tejashwi Ji. The party has already authorized them to take such decisions,”
BJP too has a lot of numerous aspirants for the single Rajya Sabha seat. Insiders said the party’s central leadership has hinted preference for the younger lot. Many ticket aspirants have met RSS and BJP leaders. A sitting Rajya Sabha member is lobbying for his son if he was denied the chance of re-entry in the upper house.
Bihar BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand issued a statement on Wednesday “Top leadership of the BJP will take the decision about the Rajya Sabha candidate at the appropriate time,”
A senior JD(U) leader who didn’t want to be identified Wednesday Since the JD(U) is all set to lose one seat, it’s one of the three sitting members is bound not to get the opportunity of re-entry, if the party decides to repeat the present members.
“The party may like to change all its members as it did in 2014 when the then sitting Rajya Sabha members NK Singh, Shivanand Tiwari, and Sabir Ali were denied tickets and asked to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha election,”
“In JD(U), the decision about the Rajya Sabha candidates was taken only by the party chief Nitish Kumar, that too just a day or hours before the time of filing nomination papers,” the party leader said.