Amid speculation and allegations of “massive horse trading”, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Wednesday responded to Nitish Kumar’s appeal to support two JD(U) candidates Pawan Verma and Ghulam Rasool Baliyawi. JD(U) national president Sharad Yadav has already been elected unopposed.
The RJD president, who met the party’s 21 MLAs on Tuesday and Wednesday, finally took a call to support Nitish, who had made a fervent appeal to Lalu to “foil the game plan of BJP to destabilise Jeetan Ram Manjhi government”. Nitish has been facing dissidence with over a dozen MLAs supporting Independents, Anil Sharma and Sabir Ali.
Lalu said: “We have decided to support Nitish to fight communal forces. All my party legislators discussed the pros and cons and decided to show solidarity with JD(U).” RJD sources said the party MLAs had authorised Lalu to take the final call as they had been sharply divided over support to Nitish.
Meanwhile, Nitish thanked Lalu, Congress and CPI for lending support to his party candidates to “foil BJP’s plans”.
Even though the RJD has lent its support, the JD(U) is still not confident of winning. As per the EC’s instructions, no party can issue whip in Rajya Sabha elections. “We are worried on two counts — the party does not know the exact number of dissidents and it is not sure if all RJD MLAs would support JD(U)”, a JD(U) source said.
Sources said Ashish Khetan will be the vice-chairman of the commission.