Lalu extends support to JD(U) in RS polls

Patna : Marking realignment of ‘secular’ forces in Bihar against a resurgent BJP, RJD on Wednesday announced the support of its 21 MLAs to JD(U) candidates for two Rajya Sabha seats in view of rebellion among the ranks of Nitish Kumar’s party.

After two days of meeting with his MLAs, Lalu Prasad said he was extending support to Nitish to keep BJP away from power. He claimed the BJP did not enjoy majority in Rajya Sabha and it conspired against JDU to field two independents with the support of rebel legislators. They would fail, he said, adding that the RJD would not issue any whip for its MLAs as it would be a crime under Indian Penal Code because whip amounted to threat

to a voter.

Lalu also advised his MLAs not to take money from the candidates as they would be arrested by the CBI. Horse trading should be avoided as both the candidates and the supporting MLAs would be arrested, he asserted. The RJD chief reminded them of the Jharkhand incident in 2012 Rajya Sabha elections when one independent candidate and six MLAs were arrested with bribe money during the election.

The rebel JDU leader – Gyanendra Kumar Singh Gyanu claimed the number of rebel MLAs in the ruling party was too big and this will lead to the defeat of the official JDU candidates. At the JDU legislature party meeting, 24 JDU MLAs remained absent. JDU has 117 members in Bihar assembly.

Lalu, who has long been a bitter critic of Kumar, the former Bihar chief minister, said his support was based on the need of present times and would comment on the likelihood of his tie-up with Kumar when such a need arose.

Chhaya Mishra

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