PATNA: Seven candidates were on Monday declared elected unopposed to the Bihar legislative council.
According to the Bihar Vidhan Sabha secretariat, certificates were handed over to the respective candidates, four of whom were fielded by the ruling NDA and the remaining by the opposition RJD.
The biennial polls have enabled the RJD to raise its tally in the upper house by three.
The party fielded Mohd Qari Sohaib, Munni Rajak and Ashok Kumar Pandey, a Muslim, a Dalit woman and a Brahmin respectively, in a bid to prove that it cared for all sections of the society.
In the NDA camp, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) played hard ball and persuaded the BJP to agree to a “50-50 formula” even though the saffron party has many more MLAs than its coalition partner.
The JD(U) fielded Afaq Ahmed and Ravindra Singh, both national-level office bearers in the party, in a move aimed at boosting the morale of committed workers.
Moreover, Ahmed’s candidature sends across the message that the JD(U) remains steadfast in its commitment to secularism, the increasing clout of BJP notwithstanding. Singh is a Kurmi, the caste to which the chief minister belongs. His candidature underscores the point that fellow caste men of Kumar, the de-facto leader in the JD(U), will continue to be respected.
The second-most prominent Kurmi face in the party, Union minister RCP Singh, was recently denied another term in the Rajya Sabha, in a slap on the wrist for the bureaucrat-turned-politician with vaulting ambition.
The BJP has sought to assuage the Bhumihar community, who have of late grown indifferent towards the party, by fielding Anil Sharma of Jehanabad district. Its other candidate Hari Sahni is a Nishad, a sizeable OBC group which has been miffed with the BJP over the manner in which the saffron party got rid of its former protégé Mukesh Sahani.
According to saffron camp insiders, lack of support from Bhumihars and Nishads had led to its huge defeat in Bochahan assembly seat where by-election was held a couple of months ago.