Ticket delay worries thousands of Bihar poll aspirants

With just two days to go for filing of nomination papers for the first of the six-phase elections, aspirants are worried and restless as they camp in the state capital and some even in New Delhi to impress top party leaders.

Over 30,000 aspirants have submitted their bio datas to political parties - mostly directly to party chiefs - to contest the October-November elections to the 243-member legislative assembly.

The maximum number seems to be interested in the Congress, followed by Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal-United (JD-U).Hundreds of aspirants are still roaming from one place to another in search of assurances and hoping against hope for tickets to contest the Oct 21 to Nov 20 elections.

"Delay to declare the list of candidates has added more stress among aspirants. But I am hopeful," Pradeep Kumar Sharma, an aspirant of Congress ticket to contest from Arwal constituency, told IANS.

Like Sharma, Feroz Mansuri, a hopeful for RJD ticket to contest from Chatapur constituency, voiced unhappiness over the delay.

"I am camping in Patna instead of Chatapur to ensure a ticket. I know I am wasting time that I would have spent in my constituency," Feroz, a youth leader of Dalit Muslims, said.
More or less similar views were expressed by aspirants of the ruling JD-U and BJP tickets.
"I was assured by top JD-U leaders that I will get a ticket. But I can not be sure till my name figures in the final list. It is making me tense," Santosh Mandal said.

An aspirant of BJP ticket said he had visited New Delhi thrice to impress top party leaders and was making all efforts in Patna to ensure his name is in the list of candidates.
"Delay is a bad thing for people like us who have spent days for it. I am fed up," he said.
The JD-U and BJP are yet to finalise the seat-sharing criteria despite increasing
pressure of aspirants to declare list of candidates, a party leader said. 

A senior BJP leader admitted that the delay was due to the fact that seats are not yet finalised. "How can we announce the list of candidates," he said.Sources in JD-U and BJP said some hitches remain over a dozen of seats to which both alliance partners have staked their claim.

"But everything will be solved within two days," a JD-U leader said. The JD-U would contest 140 assembly seats and its ally BJP 103. Currently, the JD-U has 81 sitting legislators and the BJP 54.

The JD-U contested 138 seats in the last assembly polls in 2005, leaving 103 for the BJP. The two parties had friendly contest on two seats.The Congress list of candidates was expected by Sep 20 but now by all indications it will be declared by Sep 25.
Party sources said the screening committee for Bihar was yet to finalise its recommendations for 103 seats that will go to the polls in the last three phases.
The recommendations will be sent to the Congress' Central Election Committee (CEC), headed by party chief Sonia Gandhi, for final clearance.

Party sources said the CEC finalised candidates for the first three phases of polls and kept its decision pending on about 35 seats as more discussions were required.
The RJD and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) have reportedly delayed the declaration of their lists in the wake of the likely political impact of the Ayodhya verdict. There are speculations in political circles that the verdict may force Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to snap ties with the BJP to save his secular image in case of any surprise development.
The parties are expected to release their first lists of candidates by Sep 27, when nomination for the first phase of election starts.

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