Congress on Monday named Shambhu Singh Patel as its candidate for Bhabhua assembly bypoll next month to take on BJP rival with the help of RJD of Lalu Prasad. BJP has named Rinki Pandey as its nominee from Bhabhua. She is the wife of sitting BJP MLA Anand Bhushan Pandey, whose death has necessitated bypoll on the seat.
Along with Bhabhua, bypolls are slated on March 11 for Araria Lok Sabha seat as well Jehanabad assembly constituency, both with the RJD earlier. The last day of filing of nomination papers is February 20.
“After getting the party high command’s nod, we have decided to field Shambhu Singh Patel from Bhabhua assembly constituency,” BPCC acting president Kaukab Qadri and Congress Legislature Party leader Sadanand Singh said at a joint press conference here.
Patel has been associated with the Congress for 35 years and his name has been recommended both by the party’s block and district units, Qadri said claiming that even its ally, the RJD, has supported Patel’s candidature. The RJD and Congress have been working together, even after the disintegration of Grand Alliance following the resignation of Nitish Kumar over graft charge against his then Deputy Tejaswi Yadav.
As per the understanding, RJD nominees Sarfaraz Alam would contest from Araria seat. Congress got Bhabhua seat as per the agreement. The BJP has declared the name of Pradeep Singh for the Araria Lok Sabha seat. At Jehanabad, JD-U’s Abhiram Sharma would be the NDA nominee.
The JD(U), which had earlier said that it would not contest any of the three bypolls, decided to field its candidate from Jehanabad following appeal by BJP leaders including Deputy CM Sushil Modi and state party chief Nityanand Rai. Bypolls on the three seats in Bihar would be the first election after the collapse of Grand Alliance government and reunion of JD(U) and BJP to form a coalition government in July last year.