The main Opposition party in Bihar, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, has decided to throw its weight behind former Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s widow Reena Paswan if the LJP decides to field her for the Rajya Sabha bypoll, a seat fallen vacant after the demise of senior Paswan.
The NDA has announced the candidature of senior BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi, who was not sworn in as Nitish’s deputy earlier this month.
The LJP had earlier requested the BJP-led NDA to field Reena Paswan, Ram Vilas Paswan’s second wife and mother of LJP chief Chirag Paswan, for the RS seat which fell vacant after Paswan passed away in October, but the ruling ally JD(U) reportedly made it clear to the BJP that it won’t support any LJP nominee, come what may.
For any candidate to win the Rajya Sabha bypoll, it should have the numbers in the 243-member Bihar Assembly. The NDA has 125, while the RJD-led Mahagatbandhan has 110 MLAs. Without the support of JD(U)’s 43 MLAs, even the NDA nominee can’t sail through.
The BJP, therefore, decided not to antagonise Nitish and announced the candidature of Sushil Modi, a leader perceived to be quite close to Nitish as he (Modi) has served his deputy from 2005 to 2020 barring 2013-17.
Meanwhile, the LJP has not reacted to the RJD offer but is reportedly weighing the pros and cons of a possible contest. The LJP has just one MLA in the House. Besides, it could bank upon the five MLAs of AIMIM, apart from 110 MLAs of Mahagatbandhan.
“It’s the official decision of the RJD to back Reena Paswan Ji for the Rajya Sabha bypoll, if the LJP fields her. This will be the biggest tribute to late Ram Vilas Paswan Ji, who was Lalu Prasad’s friend for five decades,” said RJD spokesperson Shakti Singh Yadav.