With the Bihar Assembly elections just two months away, the big four leaders, including two former chief ministers and the present incumbent, may not throw their hat into the ring.
Each of Lalu Prasad, Rabri Devi, Nitish Kumar, and the BJP’s undeclared chief-ministerial candidate Sushil Kumar Modi has personal or legal compulsions.
While Lalu has been barred from contesting any poll for six years from the day of his October 2013 conviction in the fodder scam, his wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi has said she does not wish to contest the polls this year. RJD sources attribute her decision to the baton being passed on to the next generation.
“Lalu-Rabri’s sons Tej Pratap and Tejaswi, and eldest daughter Misa Bharti are all set to contest the polls. Rabri, who served as chief minister from July 1997 to March 2005, is currently an MLC, and politically inactive after losing polls,” said an RJD insider.
The source recounted how she lost the 2010 Assembly polls from both constituencies she contested, and then the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Chapra — Lalu’s fiefdom.
Nitish, on the other hand, has won an Assembly election only once in his 30-year political career, when all his Janata Parivar peers were trounced in the sympathy wave for Indira Gandhi in 1985. Since then, he has been either an MP or an MLC. “Why should Nitish ji chose one particular Assembly constituency when he is the leader of entire Bihar? Moreover, his present term in the Council expires in 2018, so there is no urgency to become an MLA,” said an aide of his.
Sushil Kumar Modi’s case is no different. Though his supporters want him to contest from his old constituency — Patna Central, now named Kumhrar — Modi had told Deccan Herald some time ago he was more comfortable as an MLC.“When you become an MLA, there is no end to voters’ grievances. As MLC, I don’t get bogged down by routine complaints and can, therefore, channel my energy for better things,” he had said.
Modi’s term in the Council also expires in 2018.