Party whips and dinner diplomacy in Patna on Rajya Sabha poll eve

Written by Political Bureau | Patna | Updated: Jun 17 2010, 09:04am hrs
As a sixth candidate, an Independent, has jumped into the Rajya Sabha poll fray in Bihar making an election inevitable for the five seats, political parties have issued a whip to MLAs to remain in the capital till the conclusion of the election on Thursday.

The RJD-LJP combine has taken to hectic lunch and dinner diplomacy to maintain the head count of its MLAs and woo other legislators to ensure the election of Ramvilas Paswan and Ramkripal Yadav. The RJP-LJP combine has 68 MLAs together, the combination needs 12 more MLAs to see both its candidates through. The CPI has already announced its support to Paswans candidature. Both the RJD and LJP have been working overtime to get the remaining nine MLAs on board, mostly from the 12 Independents.

It was Karnataka businessman BG Uday who made an election inevitable after filing his nomination with the support of some Congress and BSP MLAs. With the Congress not opening its cards yet and the BSP supporting Uday, it is going to be an intriguing battle.

Amid speculation of cross-voting, all parties have asked legislators not to take calls from leaders of rival groups. BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi made it clear that the partys surplus vote would not go to the Independent candidate. Supporters of BG Uday have been claiming support from MLAs across party lines.

The JD(U), which has fielded RCP Singh and Upendra Kushwaha, however, sits pretty with adequate number of votes (81 MLAs) and the BJP, which has put up Rajiv Pratap Rudy, has 15 surplus votes.

The RJD-LJP combination is still hoping for the Congress to take its side rather than abstaining or supporting the Independent candidate, whose increasing support can only have a spoiler effect on the chances of Ramkripal Yadav.