BJP’s Shahnawaz Hussain files nomination for Bihar council bypoll

He is likely to be inducted in Nitish Kumar Cabinet

Former Union Minister and national spokesperson of the BJP Syed Shahnawaz Hussain and Vikashil Insaan Party (VIP) chief Mukesh Sahni on Monday filed their nominations for bypolls to two seats of the Bihar legislative council.

Mr. Hussain filed his nomination from the seat vacated by senior State BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who has been elected to the Rajya Sabha.

VIP chief files nomination

Mr. Sahni, who is the Minister for Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, filed his nomination for the seat vacated by BJP leader Vinod Narayan Jha, who was elected to the Assembly last year. The term of the seat vacated by Mr. Sushil Modi would be till May 6, 2024, while, Mr. Jha’s seat would last till July 21, 2022. Polling is scheduled to be held on January 28 for both the seats but since no other candidate filed the nomination on the last day, on Monday, both Mr. Hussain and Mr. Sahni are set to be declared elected unopposed on January 21, which is the last date for withdrawal of nomination papers.

Mr. Hussain’s return to the electoral politics after a gap of six years, when he contested in 2014 from the Bhagalpur parliamentary constituency and lost it, has triggered speculation that he might be inducted in the State Cabinet, which is likely to be expanded on January 19-20. In the 2019 Lok Sabha poll, he was denied ticket by the party. However, he was made in charge of DDC elections in Jammu and Kashmir, where the BJP performed well.

Mr. Hussain had served as Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. He won the Lok Sabha poll for the first time in 1999 from the Kishanganj constituency by defeating the strongman of the Seemanchal (border) area, Mohd Taslimuddin. Later, he was elected to the House twice from Bhagalpur in 2006 (bypoll) and 2009.

BJP’s plan

Meanwhile, speculations in the political circle of the State is that the BJP might have planned something big by bringing Mr. Hussain in the State politics.

“With Mr. Hussain, the BJP may try to give a strong message to the 17% minority votes in Bihar. The party can also use him in the coming West Bengal elections”, said political analyst Ajay Kumar. However, after filing his nomination papers, Mr. Hussain told media persons that he had a long working experience with Mr. Nitish Kumar and he had never gone out of Bihar. “I’ve always been working for Bihar and never outside of it. The BJP works as a team”, he stated.

When asked about Cabinet expansion, Mr. Nitish Kumar, who was present on the occasion, said, “it will be done soon”. However, sources in the political corridor told The Hindu that “expansion of the Nitish government could be done on January 19 -20”.

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