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Dal ‘ultimatum’ to Rajya Sabha trio

Patna, Jan. 28: The JD(U) today issued what sounded like an “ultimatum” to its three retiring Rajya Sabha MPs to tell within two days if they would accept the party’s offer to contest the Lok Sabha polls.

“The party asked the three MPs — N.K. Singh, Shivanand Tiwari and Shabir Ali — to communicate their decision on its offer within two days so that the party could chalk out its plans about the general elections,” said Bashishtha Narayan Singh, the state Janata Dal (United) president, who was accompanying the three fresh party nominees who filed their nomination papers today.

However, sources in the party revealed that most of the retiring MPs were likely to turn down the party’s offer.

“I turned down the offer to contest the Lok Sabha polls on the very day it was offered to me. I stand by what I have decided,” Shivanand Tiwari told The Telegraph.

Though N.K. Singh and Shabir Ali were not available to comment on the party’s “diktat”, sources close to them revealed they continued to be reluctant to enter the Lok Sabha poll fray.

The Janata Dal (United) on January 23 denied fresh term to the trio replacing them with Harivansh, Ramnath Thakur and Kahkashan Parveen, who filed their papers today.

The party offered Banka, Buxar and Sheohar seats to Singh, Tiwari and Ali respectively. Initially, the party’s decision had stunned the retiring stalwarts.

However, the sources said the trio with the support from a few other “disgruntled” legislators and MPs might break into a revolt against Nitish Kumar’s leadership.

“Contesting election is not an issue. But the manner in which we have been offered to contest the polls is highly objectionable,” said one of the retiring MPs of the Janata Dal (United) on condition of anonymity.

“If the party really wanted me to contest the polls, it would have taken me into confidence giving me, at least, six months to nurse the constituency it has offered,” he said.

Another retiring MP of the Janata Dal (United) said: “The party simply wants to get rid of me. I served the party with all the energy and resources at my command. But the party has simply shown me the door when it feels that I have turned an object of disuse.”

It was not yet known what course of action the retiring MPs would eventually take.