Falling back upon the triedand-tested formula of electoral success in Bihar, the grand alliance of the ruling Janata Dal-United, Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress on Wednesday announced the name of its 242 candidates for the upcoming state Assembly elections.
Flanked by Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ashok Choudhary and the RJD's state president Ram Chandra Purve, Chief Minister Nitish released the joint list of the 242 candidates of all the three parties in which the OBCs grabbed the biggest share of seats.
Nitish said that all sections of society had due representation in the list. "We have taken a joint decision after long deliberations on the list of candidates without any dispute Candidates for all the seats except one (Rajgir) has been declared now," he said.
According to the list, the alliance has given about 55 per cent seats to the backward castes, including the Yadavs, and 16 per cent to the SC-ST candidates. About 25 seats (about 10 per cent) have been given to women.
The list also comprises the names of RJD president Lalu Prasad's sons - Tej Pratap Yadav and Tejashwi Prasad Yadav - who will be making their debut from the Mahua and Raghopur seats respectively.
Speaking on the occasion, Nitish said that development would be their biggest agenda. He added that while the grand alliance had worked out its seat sharing formula without any row, the NDA had faced a lot of haggling over their deal.
The list, however, sparked protests immediately after it was released. Bihar's health minister Ramdhani Singh resigned after he was denied ticket by the JD(U). His supporters along with those of other leaders who had failed to get the tickets staged protests over the party decision.
Similar scenes were also witnessed at the state BJP headquarters where supporters of many leaders, who had failed to get the party tickets, staged protest. Supporters of Dilmani Devi, who did not get the ticket from Brahmapur seat in Buxar district, said the party had insulted her father-in-law, the late Kailshpati Mishra, who was the party's patriarch in Bihar.
TWO well-known bahubali (strongman) legislators of the JD(U) are missing from its candidates list for Bihar elections but the party has left other legislators with criminal antecedents and their kin unscathed this time.
The candidates list released on Wednesday did not include the names of Anant Singh and Sunil Pandey. While Anant had resigned from the party after being jailed in an abduction and murder case, Sunil's name had figured in the Ranvir Sena founder Barmeshwar Singh Mukhiya's killing.
The party decided to give the Lalganj seat to Vijay Kumar Shukla. He could not contest the 2010 elections because of his conviction in two murder cases. The JD(U) has also retained other 'tainted' candidates from different constituencies.