Bihar and Jharkhand are witnessing a number of former bureaucrats trying to enter the poll race. What is new is that several have taken voluntary retirement. These states have at least a dozen former bureaucrats in the race. In at least one seat, a former IPS officer and an IAS officer are locked in a battle to be the BJP candidate. The BJP seems to be the favourite of many and the party attributes it to Narendra Modi. “These people, who want to serve people, are attracted by the work of Modi,” said BJP legislator Raghubar Das.
In Bihar, former union home secretary R K Singh is likely to contest on a BJP ticket, and former Tirhut Range commissioner K P Ramaiah is the probable JD(U) candidate in Sasaram. Petroleum secretary R S Pandey is a BJP probable from Valmiki Nagar, and another Bihar cadre IAS officer, Pancham Lal, who recently took voluntary retirement, is eager to contest the elections. Former Bihar DGP Ashish Ranjan Sinha is the likely RJD nominee from Nalanda.
In Jharkhand, former DGP V D Ram is looking at contesting from Palamu as BJP candidate. He has competition from retired IAS officer Mukhtiar Singh, who was chairperson of the Jharkhand Electricity Regulatory Commission. He wants the same ticket.
Sasaram in Bihar, represented by Lok Sabha speaker and former IFS officer Meira Kumar, could present an interesting battle. Ramaiah, who took VRS four months before retirement, is seeking the JD(U) ticket. Lal, a 1974 batch IAS officer who once got into controversy by saying 90 per cent cases against Naxals are fake, is aspiring to be a candidate from Sasaram. There are signs of JD(U) rebel and former minister Chhedi Paswan joining BJP and wanting to contest from Sasaram.
In Jharkhand, former additional DGP Amitabh Choudhary joined JVM(P) after bidding for the BJP ticket for Ranchi.
Former union home secretary Singh, who turned down an offer to be adviser to Nitish Kumar and joined the BJP instead, is the likely BJP candidate from Ara in Bihar. New BJP ally LJP had sought Ara, but the BJP did not cede it. Caste equations favour Singh’s chances in Ara rather than home turf Supaul. Valimiki Nagar has at least four BJP hopefuls including veteran MLA Chandramohan Roy, independent MLA Dilip Verma and former petroleum secretary R S Pandey. Pandey and Verma seem frontrunners.
In Jharkhand, besides Choudhary, BJP’s Yashwant Sinha and JVM(P)’s Ajoy Kumar are strong contenders. Sinha, a veteran, was a bureaucrat earlier. Ajoy Kumar had resigned as SP and won the byelection from Jamshedpur in 2011.
Choudhary, who joined JVM(P) on February 27, had seven years of service left. He said in an interview, “There is a distinction between somebody who had an option and left that option to choose this (politics) and those who did not have an option, but were superannuated, had a few months’ service left or there was no chance they would have reached the top.”
Punjab cadre IPS officer Arun Oraon, whose in-laws are from Lohardagga, is waiting to contest as a BJP candidate. “I requested my home cadre to relieve me by March 10. I know Lohardagga well; apart from the history my in-laws have, I have served there,” Arun Oraon said. His wife Geetashree Oraon represents the constituency now.
Jharkhand’s former energy secretary Vimal Kirti Singh intends joining BJP. His choice of constituency is not clear yet and there were indications he wanted to contest from Bihar. It is likely he would settle for Dhanbad.
The Congress Monday inducted former IAS officer Binod Kispotta, of the Manipur cadre, who retired as Jharkhand additional secretary in 2012. Congress sources, however, say he is not likely to contest.