JD(U) to contest Bengal poll; Nitish not to campaign in WB

JD(U) to contest Bengal poll; Nitish not to campaign in WB

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has decided not to campaign in West Bengal even though the JD(U) is in the poll fray in the neighbouring state. The effort is in a bid to keep the Congress and other non-BJP parties in good humour.

The CPI has left two seats each for the Janata Dal (United) JD (U) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) — the two ruling partners in Bihar — to contest in West Bengal. The West Bengal JD (U) president Amitabh Ghosh will contest from Howrah (central) seat, while Dr Arshad will be Nitish’s nominee from Islampur constituency, which shares border with Bihar’s Kishanganj district.

While the Left and the Congress are jointly fighting Trinamool, Nitish has his own compulsions to keep himself away from poll campaign in Bengal. The JD (U) strongman, who runs his government in Bihar in alliance with the Congress, has equally good relations with Mamata Banerjee as well as the Left leaders.

Not ready to rub any of the three major players in Bengal the wrong way, Nitish has decided to keep himself away from canvassing. Sources said if required, the party president Sharad Yadav and JD (U) national general secretary K C Tyagi will campaign for party nominees.

The JD (U) is also contesting eight seats in Assam, where Sharad Yadav is likely to launch party’s poll campaign on March 31.

Besides, the party is in the fray in Kerala too where it is contesting seven seats. JD (U) sources say there is a strong possibility that Nitish may canvass for some of his nominees in Kerala.

Meanwhile, Dr Arshad of the JD (U) filed his nomination papers from Islampur in West Bengal. Reciprocating Nitish’s gesture in Bihar, the Congress has decided not to field its nominee against Dr Arshad from the Muslim-dominated constituency, which shares its border with Bangladesh too.

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