| Bashishtha Narayan Singh in Patna on Friday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh
Patna, Jan. 31: The JD(U) has gone into denial mode over the crisis of suitable candidates to contest the Lok Sabha elections.
Several of its sitting Lok Sabha MPs are crossing over to either the BJP or the RJD to contest the general elections while senior leaders N.K. Singh and Shivanand Tiwari have refused to contest polls on the party’s ticket.
Shivanand Tiwari’s taunt in Rajgir that the party was dreaming of winning all 40 seats when it did not have even 40 candidates is haunting the JD(U).
Sitting JD(U) MPs who have switched sides include Purnamasi Ram (Gopalganj), Jainaraian Nishad (Muzaffarpur), Mangnilal Mandal (Jhanjharpur), Sushil Kumar Singh (Aurangabad) and Mahabali Singh (Karakat). Two Independent MPs, Om Prakash Yadav of Siwan and Putul Devi of Banka, also preferred to throw their weight behind the BJP.
The JD(U), however, has not had such luck. And yet, the party refuses to admit that it would face a problem fielding formidable candidates in the coming elections. “We have no shortage of candidates. Five to six people are ready to contest the election for each seat. As far as these two persons (NK Singh and Shivanand Tiwari) are concerned, the party offered them a chance to contest the Lok Sabha election but they refused. Now, we will give the tickets to other candidates. They should not feel bad, as the party took the decision with good intention and there is lot of respect for them in the party,” said JD(U) state president Bashishtha Narayan Singh at the party office.
The JD(U)’s claim comes at a time when two of its sitting Rajya Sabha MPs have turned down the proposal to contest Lok Sabha elections on being denied continuity in Rajya Sabha. The BJP and RJD are taunting the ruling party and insisting that lack of confidence is gripping its leaders. In spite of all this, the JD(U) is putting up a brave face. The party is facing disintegration with most of its prominent faces mulling to contest from other parties.
Recently, the JD(U) MLA from Chenari, Chhedi Paswan, too, quit the party and is now about to join the BJP. He is believed to be contesting from the high-profile Sasaram Lok Sabha seat represented by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.
Asked whether or not JD(U) leaders were scared of contesting the elections fearing defeat, a leader said: “Our confidence level has gone up after seeing the response to the Sankalp Rally. The crowd shows the party’s strength.”
Announcing that poll nominations are under scrutiny at present, Bashishtha Narayan Singh said: “The party would announce the list of its Lok Sabha candidates shortly. Specific dates cannot be given. I must also say that no sitting MLA would be given ticket to contest Lok Sabha election.”