| (From left) JD(U) leaders cheer after filing their nomination papers in Patna on Monday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Patna, March 10: State Congress president Ashok Choudhary, who filed his nomination papers for the biennial Legislative Council elections, heaved a sigh of relief on Monday.
Nine seats at stake are elected by MLAs.
On the last day of filing nominations, five JD(U) candidates, including education minister P.K. Shahi filed their nomination papers. The others were Satish Kumar, Haroon Rashid, Heera Prasad Bind and Sone Lal Mahto.
Four of the five have been re-nominated. Mahto is, however, a new candidate.
Three BJP candidates — Sanjay Mayuk, Surajnandan Kushwaha and Krishna Kumar Singh — filed their nomination papers two days ago.
The total number of candidates filing for nominations is nine, making way for declaring all the nine candidates elected uncontested on March 13, after a day for scrutiny of papers and two days for withdrawal of paper, lapses.
Earlier, there were speculations about the JD(U) fielding a sixth candidate and forcing the elections.
It would have left Choudhary in a shaky ground, as 13 of the RJD MLAs have been declared unattached and not obliged to obey the whip of the party.
There would have been a strong chance of cross voting.
There are also speculations about rift in the Congress over distribution of tickets. The BJP and the JD(U) have surplus votes and in case of cross voting from the RJD and the Congress, Choudhary would have had a difficult time in sailing through.
He was given the seat in the negotiations between the Congress and the RJD over seat sharing for Lok Sabha elections. The Congress was adamant on 14 but later it agreed to 12 seats, as Lalu agreed to support the state party president of the Congress for a seat in the state Legislative Council.