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Puzzle over Sharad flight

Patna, March 12: Bihar’s volatile political stage continued to sizzle today with JD(U) national president Sharad Yadav, who had landed here yesterday to finalise the party’s Lok Sabha candidates, suddenly flying off to New Delhi this morning but returning to Patna later in the evening.

The grapevine in the party is that Sharad was “miffed” at the list of candidates handed over to him by chief minister Nitish Kumar and did a “vanishing act” to express his displeasure.

A source also said that Sharad “tore” the list in a huff and took off for Delhi. However, Nitish soon swung into action, engaging his men and machinery — “equipped to handle the party boss” — to placate Sharad. The chief minister was said to have also made a personal call to Sharad to “get back to business”.

Sharad eventually returned to Patna at 8.30pm. Asked about his “mysterious” disappearance, Sharad said: “What happens in the party is the party’s family matter. We will sort out everything and will come out with the final list of candidates for all the seats ahead of Holi.”

What added credence to Sharad’s alleged dissatisfaction over the list purportedly submitted to him by Nitish was the JD(U) president’s own statement yesterday. “I will stay here till I finalise the list of candidates. I will not leave Bihar till the list is finalised,” Sharad told reporters yesterday.

Asked about the dramatic manner in which Sharad shuttled between Patna and Delhi, party general secretary and Sharad aide, K.C. Tyagi, told The Telegraph over phone: “Sharadji in the capacity of party president is authorised to sign on the symbols to the candidates and also on some related forms. He had come to Delhi to carry out these formalities besides attending some prescheduled meetings.”

But Tyagi’s remarks added to the confusion. “How can Sharad go to Delhi to sign the symbols when the party was yet to finalise the names of candidates and allot them the symbols?” asked a JD(U) leader.

Four RJD leaders, including Abu Kaiser — tipped to contest from Bhagalpur — crossed over to the JD(U) today amid murmurs within Nitish’s party over possible tickets to party-hoppers.

JD(U) MLA Gyanendra Singh Gyanu has questioned the “manner” in which the party is picking candidates. “The party has consistently been ignoring old timers and founders of the Samata Party and allotting tickets to party-hoppers,” Gyanu said.

 


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