Patna: The ruling Janata Dal (United) in Bihar on Saturday announced that it will not to contest the by-elections of one Lok Sabha and two Assembly seats in the state.
This comes just a day after the Election Commission announced that the bypolls in Araria Lok Sabha along with Bhabhua and Jehanabad Assembly seats will take place on March 11.
JD(U) President Bashishth Narayan Singh told News18 that all three seats had fallen vacant after the demise of sitting representatives, so the party has decided not to field candidates.
Just a couple of hours before this announcement, Party's MLA from Jokihat, Sarfaraz Ahmad, a strong contender of a ticket from Araria Lok Sabha seat, quit JD(U) and joined opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). The seat fell vacant after his father Mohammad Taslimuddin's demise, who was elected on RJD ticket in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Boosted by this defection, leader of opposition Tejashwi Yadav claimed that many more JD(U) leaders were in touch with him and will switch side soon.
On JD(U)'s decision of not contesting election, He said, "It shows Nitish Kumar's abject surrender before BJP which will not allow him to call the shots. What an irony. The ruling party is running away from a contest."
However ,this decision is also being interpreted as an attempt by JD(U) to minimise internal fissures within the NDA for getting a pie in the by elections which it considers not so important.
A rebellious Jeetan Ram Manjhi has demanded ticket for his party Hindustani Awam Morcha from Jehanabad seat which fell vacant after demise of RJD leader Mundrika Singh Yadav. Another NDA constituent, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) has also laid a claim for the seat in public.
Meanwhile, a senior leader of BJP said the party will contest from Araria Lok Sabha seat, where it lost in 2014, and Bhabhua Assembly seat which fell vacant after demise of Anand Bhushan Pandey who was elected on a BJP ticket.