Patna, June 25: All five candidates of the ruling NDA in Bihar on Thursday filed their nomination papers for biennial elections to nine seats of the legislative council.
Top leaders of the JD(U) and the BJP, including Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, accompanied the candidates to the nomination center.
The two parties held all the nine seats under Vidhan Sabha constituency, which fell vacant upon the expiry of terms of the sitting members in May. However, because of the changed arithmetic of the state assembly after the 2015 polls, the NDA has to concede four seats to the RJD-Congress combine.
The JD(U), which held six of the nine seats, has brought in fresh faces for all the three it is contesting and seems to be sending out a message to its core supporters.
Ghulam Ghaus, related to the late stalwart Ghulam Sarwar, is a Pasmanda Muslim, a weaker section in the community among whom Nitish Kumar has established a following thereby causing a dent in Lalu Prasad's hold over minorities.
Bhishm Sahni, a grassroots-level worker from East Champaran, appears to have been picked up to convey the message to the EBCs that JD(U) is sensitive towards them.
Kumud Verma kills two birds with a stone as she too is an EBC and her nomination lends credence to the perception that Nitish Kumar is committed to women empowerment.
The BJP, which held three of the vacant seats, has fielded Sanjay Prakash alias Sanjay Mayukh for a second term. Besides being the party's national media co-head, Mayukh belongs to the Kayastha community, a numerically strong but influential upper caste which has been by and large with the saffron party in the last couple of decades.
By giving the other ticket to former state vice-president Samrat Chaudhary, whose father Shakuni Chaudhary has been one of the most influential Koeri leaders of the state, the BJP has sought to send out a message to the numerically strong OBC group that the party values the support of all Hindus and not just the upper castes.
The filing of nomination papers comes to a close later in the day. The RJD's three candidates had filed their nominations on Wednesday.