In the first evident hint of a JD(U)-Congress alliance, the ruling party in Bihar is likely to concede one of three vacant Rajya Sabha seats to former Union minister Shakeel Ahmed. The JD(U) is most likely to send its national president Sharad Yadav. The third seat may either go to senior party leader and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh or Pawan Verma, the cultural advisor to Chief Minister.
Though a section of disgruntled JD(U) leaders has been floating name of fourth candidate to put resistance with BJP support, it looks unlikely because any JD(U) MLA voting against party whip will lose membership.
As three Rajya Sabha seats – vacated by Ramvilas Paswan, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Ram Kripal Yadav – goes for separate elections, the JD(U) will get all three because of being the single largest party in the House of 243 MLAs.
Sources said former chief minister Nitish Kumar sees a Rajya Sabha nomination to Shakeel Ahmed as the best chance to wean away the Congress from the RJD. The Congress has already been supporting the Jeetan Ram Manjhi government with its four legislators to provide it extra cushion beyond simple majority. With the RJD withdrawing its support to Manjhi government, there is clear signal of putting to rest the speculation of Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad coming together.
Sources said Ashish Khetan will be the vice-chairman of the commission.