JD-U has new nominees for RS polls

The Janata Dal-United (JD-U) on Friday sprang a surprise by dumping its three sitting Rajya Sabha MPs and announcing new faces for the biennial election.

Among the new nominees is veteran journalist Harivansh, editor of Prabhat Khabar, a popular Hindi daily in Bihar and Jharkhand. He had earlier served as press advisor to former prime minister Chandrashekhar from November 1990 to May 1991.

Ramnath Thakur, son of veteran socialist and former Bihar chief minister Karpoori Thakur and Kehkahan Parveen are the other candidates.

Thakur was a minister in Nitish Kumar’s previous regime while Parveen is chairperson of the state Women’s Commission. Both Thakur and Parveen had contested the 2010 Assembly elections as JD-U candidates, but lost.

With the new nominations, Kumar has again focussed on his time-tested rainbow coalition, which helped him reap a rich harvest in the last two Assembly elections. While Thakur belongs to the Extremely Backward Class (EBC), Parveen represents the Muslim community, that too the Pasmanda Samaj (the backwards among the Muslims).

Harivansh belongs to the dominant upper caste Rajput community, which would have otherwise got annoyed over denial of a Rajya Sabha berth to bureaucrat-turned-politician N K Singh.

Besides Singh, the other two JD-U MPs whose term in the Rajya Sabha will come to an end are Shivanand Tiwary and Sabir Ali. JD-U sources said Nitish has asked all the three associates to contest the Lok Sabha elections.

Kumar is said to be particularly miffed with N K Singh for his inability to help the JD-U forge an alliance with the Congress. Besides, failure to get a special status to Bihar has also discredited Singh.

The chief minister’s angst against Sabir Ali, who is the party’s Delhi unit chief, stems from the fact that despite much hype, the JD-U could not perform well in the Delhi Assembly elections. And the lone party legislator who won, eventually changed colours and joined the AAP.

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