Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 28
NDA’s ally JD-U, mainly Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, is believed to have played a major role in the Rajya Sabha seat being wrested from the LJP, sources in are indicating.
The BJP on Friday nominated former Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi as its candidate for the Rajya Sabha by-poll after Nitish Kumar reportedly refused to support a candidate from the LJP, whose chief Chirag Paswan led an acrimonious campaign against him in the recent Assembly elections in which JD-U suffered major losses.
Sources said efforts to persuade Nitish Kumar failed and the seat went to the former Bihar deputy chief minister who is now also believed to be among top contenders for the several vacancies in the Narendra Modi Cabinet for which names of several leaders, including that of Jyotiraditya Scindia, are doing the rounds.
The LJP had claimed this seat for Reena Paswan, wife of Ram Vilas Paswan, it is said.
However, the JD-U persisted with its opposition to the LJP. It remains to be seen if the LJP, which is part of the NDA at the Centre, is henceforth given any assignment in the Narendra Modi cabinet.
After the exit of the Shiv Sena and the Akali Dal, Ramdas Athawale of the RPI is the sole NDA ally in the central council of ministers.
The seat had fallen vacant following the death of LJP patriarch Ram Vilas Paswan, who was a Cabinet minister in the Modi government. With the LJP out of the Bihar NDA after its decision to contest separately, the BJP’s decision to reclaim the seat has put a question mark on future of Chirag Paswan.
It is said some new faces might be inducted from West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Assam and Uttar Pradesh in the expansion expected “soon”.
Some ministers from these states may also be dropped, it is being speculated.
Ram Vilas Paswan was elected to the Upper House by the NDA under the ‘seat-sharing formula’ finalised during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls by the three parties. The BJP and the JD-U had contested 17 seats each while the LJP was given six seats.