Patna: Looks like over 30,000 people in Bihar want to fight an election! They are all aspirants who have submitted their biodata to political parties - mostly directly to party chiefs - to contest the October-November elections to the 243-member legislative assembly. The maximum number seems to be interested in the Congress ticket!
Thousands of ticket aspirants have submitted their well-designed colourful biodata and are eagerly awaiting the final lists of candidates, party leaders said, adding that they are seeing such a rush for the first time.
"Till the last assembly polls in 2005, hardly a few hundred ticket aspirants were there. This time, a record was made when thousands of applications were submitted," state Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Abdul Bari Siddiqui said.
Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Ashok Kumar said: "I submitted a biodata with other documents to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and requested him to consider my application for the party ticket. I am hopeful as it has everything for a potential candidate."
More than 4,000 aspirants submitted their particulars to the ruling JD-U and 6,000 to its alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
But the opposition Congress tops the list with nearly 10,000 aspirants, followed by 8,000 for the RJD and more than 3,000 for its alliance partner Lok Janshakti Party (LJP).
Other parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) also received particulars from ticket aspirants in small numbers.
RJD leader Narender Yadav submitted his papers to party chief Lalu Prasad and is sure to impress him for the ticket.
"My biodata has no match as I have been with the party since the mid-1990s and committed to Lalu Prasad`s politics of social justice," he said.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and former chief minister Lalu Prasad, the main political rivals in Bihar, spent hours at their party headquarters here for four-five days this week to collect biodata from aspirants which they said would be the basis of selection of candidates.
JD-U state president Vijay Kumar Chaudhary said his party was trying hard to shortlist potential candidates in view of the large number of aspirants. "Party leaders are busy scrutinising biodata," he said.
The party is expected to release the first list of candidates by Sept 27 when nomination for the first phase of election will start.
BJP leaders also admitted that due to the large number of aspirants, there is pressure on the party to scrutinise all biodata before finalising the candidates. "It is no doubt a tough task this time," BJP state president CP Thakur said.
The JD-U would contest 140 assembly seats and its ally BJP 103. Currently, the JD-U has 81 sitting legislators and the BJP 54.
A JD-U leader said the party would select hardly a dozen new candidates. The situation is similar in the BJP, a party leader said.
Congress leader Prem Chand Mishra said a heavy rush of ticket aspirants was a result of the party`s decision to contest elections on its own from all the seats.
He said it indicated that the Congress is moving ahead in Bihar, thanks to general secretary Rahul Gandhi`s keen interest to revive the party in the state.
The RJD state president said, "It is not only a positive sign but indicates that the RJD popularity is still intact." The RJD would contest 168 seats and the LJP 75.
JD-U, BJP, Congress, RJD and LJP leaders said there are a large number of young ticket aspirants.
"Youths gathered inside and outside the party offices for submitting biodata," a shopkeeper outside the JD-U office said.
Other parties` offices on the busy Birchand Patel Marg here also witnessed similar scenes.