Patna, Jan. 14: The biennial elections next month is set to witness the first major bearing of the JD(U)-BJP split on the composition of Parliament ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP appears to have an upper hand over its estranged ally in the elections to five Rajya Sabha seats from Bihar scheduled for February 7.
With its 91 MLAs, the BJP is set to double its figure from one to two. The JD(U), which has 118 members in the Assembly, will fall short of two MLAs to retain the three seats it currently has in the Rajya Sabha. The RJD, reduced to 22 MLAs in the 2010 polls, lacks in numbers to retain its outgoing member, Premchand Gupta.
Besides Gupta, the other Rajya Sabha members from Bihar whose terms end on April 9 are Shivanand Tiwari, N.K. Singh and Shabir Ali (all JD-U) and C.P. Thakur of the BJP. Each candidate require votes of 40 MLAs to enter the Rajya Sabha.
The BJP has an opportunity to add to its number in the Rajya Sabha and will still be left with 11 surplus votes in its kitty. BJP veteran R.K. Sinha, who was stopped from filing his papers in the 2012 biennial elections under “pressure” to save the alliance, is believed to the “front runner” for the party’s second seat.
Though the JD(U) might “manage” two MLAs required to get its third candidate elected, grapevine has it that the party might ask one of its Rajya Sabha MPs to demit his claim for a second term and instead contest the Lok Sabha seat from Buxar. N.K. Singh and Shabir Ali are believed to be sure of getting a third term.
The doors are virtually shut for the Lalu Prasad’s “trusted” associate, Premchand Gupta. He will need the backing of the BJP with its 11 surplus votes to see him through.