Days after the NDA announced its seat-sharing arrangement for the Lok Sabha polls in Bihar, several political heavyweight have started sending feelers to parties they want to contest with. The RJD-led Grand Alliance is likely to announce its own seat-sharing formula after January 15.
Independent MLA from Mokama Anant Singh, who has several criminal cases against him, has started praising RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his son and Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Prasad Yadav. Singh is likely to contest from Munger in 2019.
BJP rebel MP Shatrughan Sinha is likely to cross over to the RJD and contest from Patna Saheb, while Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s name has been doing the rounds as the BJP nominee from the prestigious seat. Anant Singh has been daring the JD(U)’s most likely nominee from Munger, Water Resources Minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh.
“I am ready to take on anyone, a minister or anyone….Lalu Prasad has been a mass leader and Tejashwi has been showing good leadership potential,” said Singh.
Engrossing fight on cards for three NDA seats
Munger, Patna Saheb and Darbhanga are important Lok Sabha seats for the NDA, not just because they are currently with the ruling alliance, but also because of likely contestants and opponents. Independent MLA Anant Singh, an upper caste Bhumihar, may split votes in Munger and is likely to end up harming the prospects of JD(U) candidate Lalan Singh, who also belongs to the same caste group. Shatughan Sinha, who has represented Patna Saheb twice, looks set to make the fight for this seat engrossing, with the RJD likely to field Sinha against the BJP.
The Munger seat, currently represented by LJP’s Veena Devi, will be contested by JD(U) on behalf of the NDA with Devi being shifted to another LJP seat. Though RLSP has been looking to contest Munger seat as part of the Grand Alliance, RJD may decide to keep it.
Sinha, who has been criticising the BJP and the PM for a while, said: “It is not important whether the BJP will give me a ticket from Patna Saheb, it will be important if I will accept it,” said Sinha, who recently met Lalu Prasad in hospital and praised Tejashwi.
The RJD has on several occasions invited Sinha to join the party. An RJD source said, “Sinha is most likely to join us. He will make the fight in Patna Saheb interesting if he is our candidate.” Another BJP rebel MP Kirti Azad has also announced that he would contest only from Darbhanga, which is likely to go to the JD(U), which may field party national general secretary Sanjay Jha from the seat.
Azad may not have the option to contest on an RJD ticket as former MP MAA Fatmi is likely to contest from Darbhanga as the RJD’s nominee.