Bihar: Rift in GA as RJD names candidates for bypoll seats | Patna News

PATNA: The opposition grand alliance (GA) was a divided house on Sunday after RJD announced its candidates for both Kusheshwar Asthan and Tarapur assembly seats in the byelection to be held on October 30. In retaliation, Congress, the biggest ally of RJD in the state, also decided to contest on both the seats.
Congress had earlier expressed its desire to contest from its traditional Kusheshwar Asthan seat, which it had lost by a margin of around 7,000 votes in the 2020 assembly election. It had recently sent a five-member team to Darbhanga district to get people’s feedback before finalizing a candidate there.
But its plan received a major jolt after RJD state president Jagdanand Singh announced Arun Kumar Sah and Ganesh Bharti as the party’s official candidates from Tarapur and Kusheshwar Asthan seats, respectively.
“We have almost finalized our candidate for the Kusheshwar Asthan seat. We will hold a meeting tonight to finalize the name for Tarapur seat,” Bihar Congress president Madan Mohan Jha told TOI over phone on Sunday.
Asked whether Congress has a formidable candidate in Tarapur, Jha said several prospective candidates approached the party leaders after the RJD announced its candidates from both the seats. “However, a final decision regarding contesting from both the seats will be taken by the party’s central leadership,” he said.
To a question, Jha said, “In Congress, the candidates for any election are decided by the party’s high command.”
Contrary to Congress’s claim, RJD spokesman Mrityunjay Tiwari told TOI that his party’s national president Lalu Prasad finalized the candidates for both the constituencies only after holding deliberations with the top leaders of all allies, including the Congress.
Sources said Lalu personally spoke to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and AICC in-charge for Bihar, Bhakta Charan Das, before finalizing the RJD candidates.
The RJD’s move, however, invited sharp reactions from the NDA. “Today, the RJD once again showed its status to the Congress. The Congress high command should immediately break up its tie with RJD to save its face to some extent,” former Bihar CM and HAM(S) president Jitan Ram Manjhi said.
“RJD is nervous with the way Congress is trying to come out of its shadow. Joining of former CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar is an attempt in the same direction. RJD is now over cautious. It’s not that RJD has ignored the Congress but also ensured that Tejashwi doesn’t share dais with Kanhaiya. The UPA alliance no longer exists in Bihar,” BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand told TOI.
Bypolls to Kusheshwar Asthan and Tarapur seats were necessitated following the death of JD(U) MLAs Shashi Bhushan Hajari and Mewalal Choudhary, respectively. JD(U) has fielded Aman Bhushan Hajari, the son of Shashi Bhushan, in Kusheshwar Asthan, and Rajiv Kumar Singh from Tarapur.

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