February 18, 2017 1:51:30 pm
Congress on Saturday announced its candidates on two out of the four seats of Bihar Legislative Council that will see voting on March 9 notwithstanding presence of RJD nominees on both the seats, a decision which indicated widening of rift within the ruling Grand Alliance. Peeved over denial of a seat out of the four, state Congress chief Ashok Choudhary announced names of two candidates for Gaya Graduates and Gaya Teachers constituencies at a press conference in Patna.
While Ajay Singh will be Congress candidate from Gaya graduates, former MLA Hriday Narayan Singh Yadav will fight from Gaya teachers constituency, Choudhary said. Within Grand Alliance, JD(U) and RJD had distributed two seats each among them with Congress drawing a blank. RJD has 80 MLAs, JD(U) 71 and Congress 27 in the ruling coalition.
The two seats of Gaya Graduates and Gaya Teachers are being contested by RJD of Lalu Prasad and announcement of candidates by Congress meant the two allies would be face-to-face along with NDA nominees on the two seats. JD(U) of Nitish Kumar are contesting Saran Graguates and Supual Teachers seats. February 20 is the last date of filing of nomination for the four seats.
For the past few days, Congress has been indicating its annoyance over the two bigger parties of the Alliance ignoring it in the Council poll by not giving it any seat. Choudhary was, however, cautious while announcing names of two nominees. “This is not a general election. These are candidate-based poll and hence fielding our candidates should not be seen as conflict within the Grand Alliance,” Choudhary flanked by another minister Awdesh Kumar Singh said.
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“While Nitish Kumar is heading the Alliance, Lalu Prasad is guardian of the three parties coalition…there is no fight among us,” he added. “Like other parties Congress also has to strengthen its position in the state and hence we have decided to contest on two seats,” he said. Ajay Singh, Congress MLC from 1999-2005, will give fight to Council Chairman Awdesh Narayan Singh (BJP) who is seeking re-election for third time to the seat and RJD’s Puneet Singh.
Ajay Singh is son of veteran Congress leader and Cooperative strongman Tapeshwar Singh. Murmuring is not confined to Grand Alliance only, but also in the NDA camp where LJP of Ramvilas Paswan is determined to field its candidate on Gaya teachers seat against ally RLSP.
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