Parties issue whip in Bihar as stage set for RS polls



Patna: Ruling NDA and opposition RJD-LJP combine have issued whips to its MLAs as the presence of BG Uday, a Bangalore-based businessman, has paved the way for a keen contest to five Rajya Sabha seats from Bihar Thursday.

Thursday's elections will also decide the fate of LJP supremo Ram Vilas Paswan, sources said.

Uday's entry as the sixth candidate against five vacant Upper House seats from Bihar has led the strategists in the ruling NDA and opposition RJD-LJP camps to keep a close watch on fence-sitters among its MLAs as it has fuelled speculation of horse-trading.

RJD deputy leader in the state Assembly Shakeel Ahmed Khan said, "We have issued a whip and quota will be allotted to our electorate (MLAs) and the MLA will vote in accordance with the allotted quota".

The Legislature party meetings of the ruling JD(U)-BJP combine are to be held here this evening, party sources said.

Dadan Pahalwan, who along with nine BSP MLAs and Independents proposed Uday for the nomination, said "Uday is a great entrepreneur. If he is elected to the Rajya Sabha he will make investment in Bihar. We are all supporting him."

Uday's presence might queer the pitch for the official RJD candidate Ramkripal Yadav.

The RJD-LJP combine has only 68 MLAs against the requirement of 76 to ensure the victory of its two nominees Ram Vilas Paswan and Yadav.

The LJP, along with the CPI, has issued a whip to its MLAs to vote for Paswan.

The combination is heavily dependent on the Congress (10 MLAs), Left and Independents to see its candidates through.

On the other hand, the BJP-JD(U), which constitutes the ruling NDA, has 137 MLAs - 23 surplus over 114 required to send three of its official candidates to the Rajya Sabha.

While the JD(U) has fielded R C P Singh and Upendra Kushwaha, the BJP has fielded Rajiv Pratap Rudy.

PTI