Alliance test on bypoll turf

Patna, Feb. 13: The Congress has fielded Anita Ram as its candidate for the by-election to the Kalyanpur seat amid attempts by the Lalu Prasad-led RJD-LJP combine to bring its estranged national ally back on board in Bihar.

The bypoll, necessitated by the death of JD(U)'s Ramsevak Hajari, would be held on February 24.

The BJP, on the other hand, has refrained from pitting its candidate for the seat in the wake of the war of words with partner JD(U) over the NDA's prime ministerial choice for the next general elections.

Hajari had won the seat in 2010. The JD(U) has fielded Manju Devi for the coming election. With this, the JD(U)-BJP alliance is intact.The Kalyanpur bypoll has hardly shown any sign of the Congress joining the Lalu Prasad-Ram Vilas Paswan alliance in the days to follow.

The seat falls in Samastipur district, the home of socialist icon Karpoori Thakur. It is also regarded a bastion of the socialists.

Senior Congress leader and AICC member Harkhu Jha, however, did not find it appropriate to say that there was no possibility of the party joining the RJD-LJP combination. "The Congress has fielded its candidate in Kalyanpur. But it should not be construed as the end of the issue. The Congress is still considering the pros and cons of joining hands with the Lalu Prasad led alliance. The specific meeting on the issue is yet to take place," he said.

"There is still the possibility of the Congress joining the Lalu Prasad-led alliance ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in Bihar," Jha added.

The JD(U)'s Ramsevak Hajari, a socialist stalwart, had won the Kalyanpur seat in 2010 election with a huge margin of over 30,000 votes. Going by its track record, the JD(U) should comfortably retain the constituency.

But the residents are wary this time, particularly in the context of the fact that the JD(U) has denied ticket to any of the relatives of its departed law maker. Instead, Nitish Kumar's party has given ticket to Manju Devi, the wife of a former agriculture officer, Ram Vilas Ram.

Initially, the ruling party had chosen Ram as its candidate. But Ram's name figured in a case of scandal, prompting the JD(U) to pick up his wife instead.

Hajari's family members, particularly his son, Maheswar Hajari, who is the JD(U) MP from Rosera, are believed to have been opposing Manju's candidature. "The seat should have fallen in our share. The JD(U) leadership has done a great injustice by denying ticket to the kin of Ramsevak Hajari ' a towering leader of the socialist movement," said a relative of Ramsevak.

The LJP has fielded its previous candidate, Rekha Paswan, who had trailed second, securing over 30,000 votes, in Kalyanpur. Rekha is "hopeful" this time around with the stalwart like Ramsevak no more as her opponent and the JD(U) pitting a Mahadalit by snatching the seat from a Dalit. Ramsevak was from Paswan caste, a Dalit. Rekha has the backing of the RJD.

With Congress's Anita Ram joining the fray, the seat, like 2010, is set to witness a triangular contest. The by-election in Kalyanpur has generated much interest for it is taking place ahead of the by-election on the Maharajganj Lok Sabha seat that too has fallen vacant in the wake of the RJD's Umashankar Singh's death and the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Sources said all the senior leaders from their respective parties ' Nitish Kumar, Lalu and Ram Vilas Paswan ' were scheduled to hit the campaign trail in the next few days.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

As two of the most glamorous sides in the Indian T20 league, the focus of the match between Mumbai and Bangalore will invariably be on the middle-order… More »

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »