Sharad wins RS seat from Bihar; four in fray for 2 other seats

Sharad wins RS seat from Bihar; four in fray for 2 other seats

JD(U) President Sharad Yadav was today elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha from Bihar, but in two other seats, the party's official candidates were facing stiff challenge from Independents backed by rebels and the BJP.

After end of withdrawal deadline at 3:00 PM, Assembly Secretary Hareram Mukhiya declared Sharad Yadav elected unopposed to the seat vacated by LJP President Ramvilas Paswan after victory in the Lok Sabha poll.

There were four candidates for the two other seats, Mukhiya, who is returning officer for the three RS seats in Bihar, told reporters here.

For the two seats JD(U) official candidates diplomat-politician Pawan Varma and Gulam Rasool Balyawi were being challenged by Independents -- real estate baron Anil Sharma and expelled JD(U) leader Sabir Ali respectively who were backed by rebel legislators of Nitish Kumar's party and the opposition BJP.

The two seats for which voting would take place on June 19 were vacated by BJP's Rajiv Pratap Rudy and RJD's Ramkripal Yadav.

While Rudy won the Lok Sabha election from Saran constituency defeating Rabri Devi, the wife of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Ramkripal Yadav won the Patliputra seat on BJP ticket.

Earlier, in the day, BJP legislator Dilip Jaiswal who had filed nomination as Independent for the RS seat vacated by Rudy withdrew his nomination.

With him leaving the field, there would be direct contest between Pawan Varma and Anil Sharma for the seat.

Sharad Yadav, who is camping here in view of infighting in the party, did not collect the certificate from the Returning Officer.

Parliamentary Affairs minister Shrawan Kumar received Yadav's certificate on his behalf.Asked about Sharad Yadav not personally collecting his certificate and whether it was because of his annoyance over disquiet in the party, Shrawan Kumar, said there was nothing unusual about it.

"In the past I had collected the certificate of George Fernandes who was elected to Rajya Sabha from Bihar," Kumar, a close confidante of former chief minister Nitish Kumar, said.

Shrawan Kumar, who hails from Nitish Kumar's Nalanda home district, tried to put up a brave face saying a handful of dissidents opposing the two JD(U) official candidates would return before the June 19 voting.

"Senior party leaders are talking to them and everything will be sorted out before June 19 voting. Some JD(U) MLAs are unhappy because of some personal issues," he said.

Around 14 JD(U) MLAs were in the open becoming proposers for Independents Anil Sharma and Sabir Ali. The leader of the dissidents Gyanendra Singh Gyanu was claiming support of nearly 50 party MLAs which would become clear on June 19 voting.

With withdrawal of Dilip Jaiswal from contest the battle lines were drawn between the two JD(U) official candidates Pawan Varma and Gulam Rasool Balyawi and two Independents builder Anil Sharma and Sabir Ali backed by dissidents and opposition BJP.

Mukhiya said that voting on June 19 for the two RS seats would take place from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM and the results in all probability would be declared on the same day. The Returning Officer said that term of the three RS seats would be till May 6, 2016.

In the Assembly whose effective strength was 232 due to 11 vacancies, JD(U) had 117 members including the Speaker, BJP 84, RJD 21, Congress 4, Independents 5 and CPI 1.

Sharad Yadav had lost Lok Sabha election from Madhepura seat to RJD candidate Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu yadav. This victory in Rajya Sabha has come as a solace for Sharad Yadav.

The dissidents were up in arms since the induction of 14 new ministers in Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi cabinet on May 20 saying they they would not oppose Sharad Yadav, but would not support two others 'imposed' on them by an 'arrogant' Nitish Kumar.

One JD(U) MLA Daud Ali, who was among the 10 proposers for the candidature of Independent Sabir Ali made a u-turn after meeting senior party leaders yesterday.

Ali, who had attended a tea party by minister Shyam Rajak last evening for pro-Nitish legislators, told reporters that he would not go against the party.

He also praised Nitish Kumar and said he would vote for party's official candidate Balyawi and not Sabir Ali though being his proposer. With battle for the two RS seats becoming crucial for JD(U), it had some solace of support from Congress with 4 MLAs.

"The Congress party believes in principles and is not a party of buyers and sellers," Legislature Party leader Sadanand Singh told PTI.

Asked if they would vote for JD(U) nominees, he said "We will decide after getting instruction from the high command."

He said the Congress had pledged support in writing to the JD(U) government headed by Jitan Ram Manjhi.

The role of 21-members Lalu Prasad's RJD was also crucial. A RJD tilt toward either JD(U) or Independents would turn the scale in their favour. RJD Legislators have authorised Prasad to take a decision on the RS voting.

Seeking to reach out to RJD, Bihar JD(U) President Basistha Narayan Singh said it believed in secularism. RJD had voted for Manjhi in the recent trust vote.
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