However, the alliance partners appear to have agreed upon Dubey's candidature following negotiations.
BJP nominee Satish Chandra Dubey is the only contestant for the lone seat of Rajya Sabha by-poll in Bihar, virtually clearing decks for his election unopposed. Dubey, the consensus candidate of the NDA, is the only candidate to file nomination papers on Friday, the last day for submitting papers. Dubey filed his nomination papers before the Assembly Secretary-cum-Returning Officer Bateshwar Nath Pandey. He was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, Bihar BJP Vice-President Devesh Kumar, JD(U) ministers Nand Kishore Yadav and Shrawan Kumar and others. “Only one candidate, BJP’s Satish Chandra Dubey, filed his nomination papers for the by-poll for the lone Rajya Sabha seat,” Returning Officer Pandey told PTI. The by-election has been necessitated by the death of renowned lawyer and former Union minister Ram Jethmalani.
The nomination papers will be scrutinised on Saturday while the last date for withdrawal of nomination is October 9, Pandey said. Dubey, who had represented the Valmiki Nagar in the previous Lok Sabha, is all set to be declared elected unopposed on October 9 as the opposition RJD-led Grand Alliance or any other party has not put up any candidate.
The opposition parties did not field anyone probably because they stand no chance of winning as NDA’s constituents – the BJP, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) and Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP – have requisite numbers to ensure a certain victory for Dubey. Jethmalani had got elected to Rajya Sabha in 2016 on a ticket of the RJD headed by Lalu Prasad by whom he had been hired as a lawyer in fodder scam cases. The eminent lawyer had entered the Parliament from a seat that fell in the quota of JD(U) which had allowed Jethmalani to get elected on an RJD ticket as a goodwill gesture towards its then ally. Dubey belongs to a section of upper caste BJP leaders mostly from Brahmin and Bhumihar communities who had openly expressed displeasure during the Lok Sabha elections over very few people from these castes getting tickets from the NDA. Dubey was also upset over his party conceding Valmiki Nagar to the JD(U) which deprived him of a chance to try to retain the seat for a second term.
At a meeting party president Amit Shah, these BJP leaders had received the assurance that concerns of inadequate representation of these castes will be addressed when polls would be held for Rajya Sabha and the state legislative council. The state witnessed a Rajya Sabha by-poll earlier this year when Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad resigned his seat upon election to the Lok Sabha from Patna Sahib.
However, another Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan was accommodated through the vacant seat. There were speculations that the JD(U) may insist on fielding its own candidate in the by-election for the seat vacated by Jethmalani’s death, the term of which ends in 2022. However, the alliance partners appear to have agreed upon Dubey’s candidature following negotiations.