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Old warhorse Cong choice to take on CM

Patna, Oct. 1: The Congress high command has sounded out Nagaland Governor Nikhil Kumar to return to electoral politics and get ready to contest south Bihar’s Aurangabad seat — his family stronghold — in the next Lok Sabha elections.

Sources close to Nikhil told The Telegraph that the Congress central leadership, eager to regain its ground against chief minister Nitish Kumar — has approached the former party MP to focus on his Aurangabad Lok Sabha seat in particular and Bihar in general in the run-up to the general elections, scheduled in 2014.

The Congress leadership’s eagerness to enlist the former IPS officer — he was once the Delhi police commissioner — stems from the fact that the party lacks “big names” in Bihar who can take on the likes of Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad capturing the state’s political turf.

Contacted, Nikhilbabu — as he is reverentially known in the Congress circles — did not deny his party leadership’s wish for him to return to active politics. “As of now, I am the governor of Nagaland. As an occupant of a constitutional position, I am not supposed to discuss party politics. But then I have my roots in the party of my forefathers. I keep listening to the problems of Aurangabad people whom my grandfather, father and I have represented in the Lok Sabha and the Assembly for decades.”

As the governor, Nikhil’s limitation with the words was understandable. But the fact remains that the Congress might not find any candidate worthier than him to win the Aurangabad seat.

His father and former Bihar chief minister late Satyendra Narayan Sinha had represented Aurangabad for seven consecutive terms in the Lok Sabha. His grandfather, Anugrah Narayan Sinha, a freedom fighter who was next to then chief minister S.K. Sinha in the state’s first cabinet, represented Aurangabad in the Assembly.

Nikhil had also represented the seat in the Lok Sabha till he lost to Sushil Kumar Singh of the JD(U) in the 2009 elections. “We don’t have any candidate better than Nikhil to contest the Aurangabad seat. The party, under the need to increase its tally in the state, must bring Nikhil back to the electoral politics,” a senior Congress leader said.

Sources in the state Congress said Nikhil, too, was not averse to the idea, as he has of late increased his visits to the home state. Last week, Nikhil was in Bihar visiting Auranbad and meeting people.


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