Fernandes to contest Rajya Sabha

The by-poll has been necessitated after JD (U) president Sharad Yadav vacated the seat on being elected as a Lok Sabha member from Madhepura.

George, who had a running feud with the Nitish-Sharad duo ever since the JD (U) stormed to power in Bihar in 2005, had earlier refused to opt for the Upper House and instead contested as an Independent from his bastion Muzaffarpur when the party denied him the ticket during the Lok Sabha polls.

After forfeiting security deposit in his stronghold, the party patriarch apparently thought it prudent to bury the hatchet with the JD (U) strongman Nitish Kumar.

As a consequence, the chief minister was present at the Patna airport on Wednesday night to personally receive his mentor. “I have always shown immense respect towards George Saheb who is like a father figure to all of us,” said Nitish, while announcing that the former NDA convener would be the party nominee for the Rajya Sabha polls slated for August 8.

The move to send George to the Upper House is perceived to be a masterstroke by Nitish.

The shrewd politician that he is, Nitish has killed two birds with one stone. On the one hand, he has assuaged the ruffled feathers of George, who has been spewing venom on him for the last couple of years, and on the other hand he has thwarted the move of JD (U) president Sharad Yadav to send his Delhi-based confidant KC Tyagi to Rajya Sabha through Bihar.

Besides, Nitish has also quelled the simmering discontent brewing against him by placating George, as the veteran socialists had, of late, become a rallying point for the dissidents.

Other party hopefuls like former MP Prabhunath Singh, ex-MP Vasishtha Narain Singh have been caught unawares.

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