A group of JD(U) legislators loyal to former chief minister Nitish Kumar today alleged that many party legislators were being offered money to vote for Independent candidates in the election to the three Rajya Sabha seats in Bihar to be held on June 19.
Over 20 such MLAs, MLCs and ministers held a meeting at the residence of JD(U) MLA Manjit Kumar Singh to discuss the issue and urged Election Commission and Income Tax department to keep an eye on horse-trading for the polls.
Hefty sums of money were offered to party legislators to get them to vote for Independents, Singh told reporters after the meeting.
"BJP has put up its MLC and treasurer Dilip Kumar Jaiswal as an Independent candidate for the Rajya Sabha by-elections. It is also supporting two other Independents, Anil Sharma and Sabir Ali," the MLA from Baikunthpur said.
"Instead of indulging in such tactics, it should have fielded its own candidates," he said, adding that evidence was being collected to make a foolproof case of horse-trading by Independent candidates.
No candidate has been fielded against JD(U) president Sharad Yadav, who is contesting the seat vacated by LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan. However, for the other two seats, three Independent candidates have submitted papers against JD(U) candidates Ghulam Rasool Baliyawi and diplomat-turned- politician Pawan Kumar Varma.
Apart from Jaiswal, the Independent aspirants are real estate baron Anil Sharma, who had unsuccessfully contested Lok Sabha polls on a JD(U) ticket from Jehanabad, and expelled party leader Sabir Ali.
"We appeal to EC and the IT department to take cognisance of the situation and act to stop horse-trading," Singh said.
The rebels, who are also supporting the Independents, are claiming that they have the support of 30 to 40 MLAs, he added.
The pro-Nitish Kumar legislators called upon the rebels to resign from their seats before indulging in anti-party activities. They also indicated that JD(U) chief whip Shravan Kumar would initiate action against them after the election process was over.
Ministers Nitish Mishra, Shravan Kumar, Shyam Rajak, Awadhesh Kushwaha, Naushad Alam, Manoj Kushwaha, Ranju Geeta, Lesi Singh, Dulal Chand Goswami, Vinay Bihari, Jai Kumar Singh and Vinod Yadav attended the meeting besides legislators Rajesh Kumar Singh, Sanjay Kumar Singh, Shiv Prasanna Yadav, Sangita Singh, Kavita Singh, among others.