Five BJP MPs in Bihar may be dropped

The NDA, during the 2014 parliamentary polls, romped home in 31 seats out of 40 Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar. Out of these 31 MPs, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 22 Lok Sabha members from Bihar. However, the saffron camp is likely to deny tickets to five of its sitting MPs.

Reason: Under the seat-sharing agreement with its allies, the BJP has decided to contest only 17 seats, thereby leaving another 17 seats for the JD (U) and the remaining six seats for the LJP.

The moot point being debated in the ruling party camp here is: Who are the five sitting BJP MPs likely to be dropped by the saffron brigade?

Though the names of those likely to be dropped have not been officially announced, unimpeachable sources in the ruling combine confirmed about those who may get the boot.

The first and foremost is cricketer-turned-politician Kirti Azad, who is a three-term BJP MP from Darbhanga. Having won in 1999, 2009 and then again in 2014 from Darbhanga, Kirti was suspended from the BJP for questioning the integrity of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, with whom he has a running feud related to alleged irregularities in DDCA (Delhi District Cricket Association).

Incidentally, JD (U) national president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has staked his claim on Darbhanga seat as he wants his close aide Sanjay Jha to be fielded from there as the JD (U) nominee. “There is no scope of Kirti Azad getting BJP ticket again. In fact, it (exit of Kirti) will be good riddance for us, if the BJP hands over the seat to JD (U),” a senior BJP functionary, aware of the developments, told Deccan Herald.

The second MP in the BJP’s line of fire is an outspoken parliamentarian, Shatrughan Sinha. The four-term MP (including twice as Rajya Sabha member and twice as Lok Sabha member from Patna Sahib) has been nursing grudges against the BJP top leadership for cold-shouldering him despite winning from his hometown with a record margin. When asked whether BJP will give him a ticket in 2019, Shotgun (as he fondly called) shot back: “Rephrase the question whether Shatrughan Sinha will accept the BJP ticket for 2019 or not.”

The third BJP MP in the firing line is Chedi Paswan, the Lok Sabha member who defeated Congress’ Meira Kumar in 2014 from Sasaram. This reserved constituency has been traditionally a stronghold of Meira as her father Jagjivan Ram, former Deputy Prime Minister, represented Sasaram for nearly four decades.

But more than that, the turncoat Chedi Paswan has drawn Nitish’s ire as he was with JD (U) for long before dumping Nitish and joining the BJP in 2014. Nitish now wants his own candidate from Sasaram for 2019 polls.

The fourth BJP likely to get the boot is Satish Dubey from Valmikinagar. Dubey’s shady past (with criminal case lodged against him and chargesheet filed) does not match with Nitish’s insistence for clean image. The JD (U) wants its own nominee from this parliamentary constituency which also shares border with Nepal. 

The fifth seat is Begusarai, where the BJP MP Bhola Singh passed away recently. This is supposedly a Left bastion from where former JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar will make his LS poll debut next year as CPI candidate. The BJP, aware of its possible outcome, has agreed to give the seat to LJP.

“Even before the Lok Sabha election has begun, the BJP has lost five seats by agreeing to contest only 17 out of its sitting 22 seats,” Shatru told DH.

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