Shatrughan Sinha, Kirti Azad may switch to Congress

BJP MPs Sinha and Azad may be Cong nominees in 2019 LS polls

With barely nine months left before the Election Commission issues poll notification for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in March next year, Bihar is headed for a major political churning.

At least two sitting BJP MPs from Bihar, Shatrughan Sinha and Kirti Azad, are set to cross over the fence for greener pastures. The BJP’s erstwhile star campaigner Shatrughan, the four-term MP, including twice as Lok Sabha member from Patna Sahib, is likely to contest as a Congress candidate, backed by the RJD, from his home town.

Kirti Azad, the cricketer-turned-politician, who is also a senior BJP MP from Bihar’s Darbhanga constituency, is likely to be fielded by the Congress as the Grand Alliance candidate. Kirti, who had a running feud with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, was suspended from the party for his outbursts against the top leadership.

Confirming this, a top Congress source told Deccan Herald here on Thursday that the party high command had given its nod to the proposal that the two BJP MPs contest the next Lok Sabha polls on Congress ticket, supported by RJD. “Both Shatru ji and Kirti Azad will be the Grand Alliance nominees in 2019 from Bihar’s Patna Sahib and Darbhanga constituency respectively. That is for sure,” said the Congress source, refusing to be identified.

“The BJP’s popularity graph has nosedived in the last few years. It’s credibility too has eroded sharply after it failed to fulfil any of poll promises it made ahead of 2014 elections. The Congress, on the other hand, is on the upswing ever since Rahul Gandhi has taken over as party president,” said Kirti.

Kirti Azad

Incidentally, it will be homecoming for Kirti whose father Bhagwat Jha Azad was a Congress MP from Bhagalpur (for nearly three decades), a Union Minister in Indira Gandhi Cabinet and also served as Bihar’s Chief Minister in 1988.

Shatru, on the other hand, has been quite critical of the top BJP leadership. He even attended the Iftaar party hosted by RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav on Wednesday evening, thereby adding credence to the theory that he may be the Grand Alliance candidate from Patna Sahib, a constituency from where he won with a record margin in 2009 and 2014.

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