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JD(U)’s UP unit wants Nitish to contest LS polls from Phulpur, allies back proposal | India News

The Uttar Pradesh unit of Janata Dal (United) on Saturday met at the Patna residence of Bihar Chief Minister and party’s supremo Nitish Kumar and requested him to contest the Lok Sabha elections next year from Phulpur, a seat represented by the country’s first PM Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru thrice from 1952 until his death in 1964. Former prime minister V P Singh had also represented the seat in 1971 polls.

After the party’s meeting, JD(U)’s UP unit president Satyen Patel told reporters: “We have a strong and vibrant organisation in UP and can impact polls in several Lok Sabha constituencies, including Phulpur. We have requested Nitish Kumar to contest from Phulpur.”

Another JD (U) leader who attended the meeting said the very idea of the meeting was to impress upon the Bihar CM to consider the Phulpur option. “It is a seat associated with two former prime ministers. If Nitish Kumar contests from a seat outside Bihar, it would send a strong signal across the country. Besides, the Phulpur seat has its symbolic value for socialists as their biggest icon Dr Rammanohar Lohia had contested the seat opposite Nehru in 1962. Even though Dr Lohia lost the election, he got good votes in many pockets of the constituency,” said the party leader.

The JD(U)’s allies in Bihar enthusiastically reacted to the party’s UP unit’s offer to Nitish, saying the profile of the constituency suits that of the Bihar CM. Phulpur is among the 30-odd Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh which have sizeable Kurmi/Patel population.

RJD leader Shakti Singh Yadav said: “It would be great if Nitish Kumar chooses to contest from Phulpur.”

Festive offer

Bihar Congress spokesperson Asit Nath Tiwari also echoed the RJD’s sentiments. “We would be very happy if Nitish Kumar contests from Phulpur, often associated with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.”

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JD (U)’s chief spokesperson K C Tyagi told The Indian Express: “It is entirely up to Nitish Kumar to decide if he wants to contest the Lok Sabha polls from any Bihar or UP seat. He has not yet expressed his thoughts on the matter. But if it happens, it would have a magnifying impact across the country, especially in north India. Phulpur’s association with Dr Lohia and its social combination would suit our leader. Besides, there are only a few big leaders in the country, such as Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Indira Gandhi and Narendra Modi, who have contested from seats outside their home states successfully.”

Tyagi added that if Nitish decides to contest from Phulpur, it could stitch a good social combination beyond the tried and tested vote bank of Muslims and Yadavs. “The INDIA bloc could look at a broader social combination. Let us see how things unfold.”

Another JD(U) leader, however, said a lot could depend on how Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav thought about the prospect of Nitish contesting from Phulpur. “INDIA bloc will sit together in December. It could take a call on such matters then,” he said.

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