New Delhi/Patna, March 15: The JD(U) has kept faith in a sitting MP and a former IAS officer responsible for executing Nitish Kumar’s pro-Mahadalit agenda while releasing the first list of candidates for the general elections.
The party will also have five new faces to take on the Lok Sabha Speaker, Meira Kumar, and former Kerala Governor Nikhil Kumar among others.
Prominent among the new faces are Assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary, who has been fielded from the reserved Jamui constituency. The lone sitting MP to be repeated was Mahabali Singh from Karakat. Bagi Kumar Verma has been put up from Aurangabad, replacing sitting MP Sushil Kumar Singh who has been expelled from the party. Jitan Ram Manjhi, a minister in the Nitish government, would be the candidate from Gaya and Kaushal Yadav from Nawada.
Party president Sharad Yadav said they would leave two seats — Begusarai and Banka — in Bihar and five seats in Jharkhand for the Left parties. In Bihar, the CPI will contest the two seats and in Jharkhand, the JD(U) will leave two seats each for the CPI and CPM and one for Marxist Coordination Centre (MCC). The JD(U) is part of the non-Congress non-BJP alliance sponsored by the Left.
Former IAS officer K.P. Ramaiah, hailing from Andhra Pradesh, had played a key role in executing the Nitish government’s bonanza for the extremely backward class (EBC) and Mahadalits. The candidature of Ramaiah, an IAS of the Scheduled Caste quota, is apparently aimed at consolidating the numerically preponderant EBCs and Mahadalits, believed to represent the “core” constituency of Nitish.
Ramaiah will be pitted against Meira, the sitting MP from Sasaram. The BJP too has fielded two-term MP and JD(U) rebel Chhedi Paswan from the seat.
Uday Narayan, representing the Maoist-dominated Sherghati seat in the Assembly, replaced Bhudeo Choudhary, the sitting MP from Jamui. Bagi, son of former Chatra MP late Upendra Prasad Verma, was a minister in the Rabri Devi government. The JD(U) has picked him up to replace its sitting MP from Aurangbad, Sushil Kumar Singh, who has shifted allegiance to the BJP. He would take on high-profile Congress candidate Nikhil Kumar in Aurangabad.