Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, Health Minister Mangal Pandey and four others filed their nominations today for the biennial election to the state Legislative Council. Today is the last date for nomination filing for the polls, scheduled to be held on April 26 for 11 seats to the state’s Upper House. Senior Bihar Congress leader Prem Chandra Mishra was the first among the seven candidates of various political parties who filed their papers at the Assembly secretariat today. “Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Rameshwar Mahto and Khalid Anwar filed their papers as JD(U) nominees for the council polls. I accepted the documents,” Bihar Assembly Secretary Ram Shresth Rai, who is also the returning officer for the polls, told PTI.
Deputy CM and senior BJP leader Modi, health minister Pandey and Sanjay Paswan filed their nominations as BJP candidates, Rai said, adding that the Congress’ Mishra also submitted his papers for the council polls. Four RJD candidates — former chief minister Rabri Devi, state party president Ramchandra Purbe, senior leaders Khurshid Mohsin and Santosh Manjhi (son of former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi) — have already filed their papers on April 13. A total of 11 candidates have filed papers for 11 seats, which will fall vacant next month as the terms of the sitting members will expire.
JD(U) national president Kumar, Rabri Devi, Modi and Pandey are among those whose term will expire on May 6. The scrutiny of papers will take place on April 17, while the last date for withdrawal of nominations is April 19, Rai said. If no other candidate, apart from those who have already filed their papers, enters the fray, the results for all the 11 seats could be declared after 3 pm on April 19, he added. Kumar and Modi will enter the state Legislative council for the third consecutive term, while for Rabri Devi, it will be the second term in continuity.
After coming to power for the first time in 2005 heading an NDA coalition of the JD(U) and the BJP, both Kumar and Modi have been members of Bihar’s Upper House. For winning a council seat, a candidate needs 21 votes. Of the major parties, while the RJD has 81 members in the Bihar Assembly, the JD(U) has 70 (excluding Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary), the BJP 53 and the Congress 27.
Of the 11 members, whose term will expire on May 6, five belong to the JD(U), four to the BJP and one to the RJD. Narendra Singh, who had sided with Jitan Ram Manjhi after rebelling against Kumar but returned to the JD(U) after Manjhi joined hands with Lalu Prasad, had lost his council seat under the anti-defection law. In the current round, the ruling JD(U) and the BJP will lose two seats and one seat respectively, while the RJD can win four seats and the Congress one.