Intense but muted political
activities took place on Monday in Bihar where the Lok Janshakti Party's brinkmanship appears to have driven Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) to work out a new strategy of not announcing names of candidates till they file nomination papers.
Several aspirants visited 1, Anney Marg, the official residence of the chief minister who is also the party's national president, during the day and many of them were said to have been allotted the party symbol and told which constituency they will be contesting.
However, no official confirmation to this effect came from the party.
Sources in the NDA said that with LJP chief Chirag Paswan's announcement of contesting the elections to form a "BJP-led government" in the state and field candidates against the JD(U) with which it has discovered "ideological differences", the CM's party has chalked out a strategy to keep the name of its official candidates under wraps till filing of nominations, thereby allowing no leeway to its erstwhile junior alliance partner.
Spokespersons of the JD(U), most of whom are noted for the shrillness of their tone, have also responded with silence, understandably on instructions from the top, to the rebellion by the party formed by Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan and now headed by his son Chirag Paswan, which has become all the more intriguing because of the BJP's silence on the issue.
Notably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J P Nadda have repeatedly declared Nitish Kumar as the NDA's leader for the Bihar assembly polls.
Interestingly, the saffron party too is yet to make public the names of its candidates even though a final decision on it is understood to have been taken at a meeting in New Delhi on Sunday evening where Modi was present along with other top leaders.
Meanwhile, the RJD which had fought the 2015 Assembly polls in alliance with the JD(U) now its principal rival
also maintained a shroud of secrecy around the visit of aspirants who met the party's de facto chief Tejashwi Yadav.
Video footage of several of the hopefuls getting party symbol were shared by supporters on social media though the RJD declined to come out with an official confirmation of the same.
Symbols were given away in presence of Tejashwi Yadav and founding chief Lalu Prasad's confidant and party national general secretary Bhola Yadav and handed over by Tej Pratap Yadav, the supremos mercurial elder son.
The gesture was understood to have been aimed at keeping the elder scions infamous temper in check. His nasty marital dispute with his wife of six months has caused much embarrassment to the party and his estranged father in law Chandrika Roy, who joined the JD(U) a couple of months ago, has vowed to avenge his humiliation politically.
However, the RJD did formally acknowledge induction of Vishamohan Mandal, a former JD(U) parliamentarian, and Yusuf Qaisar, whose father Mehboob Ali Qaisar is a second-term sitting LJP MP.
It is not clear, though, whether the two will be fielded in the Assembly elections by the RJD which will be contesting 144 seats of the 243-strong state House, leaving a couple for the JMM its ally in adjoining Jharkhand which has little presence in Bihar.
The day also witnessed uproarious scenes outside 10, Circular Road, the residence of Tejashwi Yadav's mother and former chief minister Rabri Devi, where the hectic activities went on.
State president Jagadanand Singh, who is understood to have secured a ticket for his son, was mobbed by a group of angry people when his car came out of the high-security bungalow.
The protestors said that they were supporters of late leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, who stepped down as the party's national vice-president and resigned as its primary member a day before breathing his last at AIIMS, New Delhi.
The protestors were livid over two visits, in as many days, to the house by Rama Singh a former LJP MP from Vaishali who had wrested the seat from Raghuvansh Prasad Singh in 2014.
Rama Singh hadalso met Tejashwi Yadav a few months ago triggering speculations that the mafia don-turned-politician, who has been dumped by the LJP, may get an entry into the RJD. The development had filled Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, a staunch Lalu loyalist all his life, with horror.
With 'Raghuvansh babu', as he is fondly remembered, no more and his elder son Satya Prakash Singh reportedly intent on joining the JD(U), the RJD leadership is unlikely to suffer any conscience pangs while inducting Rama Singh whose proposed entry was vehemently opposed by one of its founding members.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)