Shatrughan Sinha has been meeting the Bihar grand alliance leaders (File)
- Shatrughan Sinha has unfailingly attacked PM Modi in sarcasm-laden tweets
- He may contest polls independently backed by Congress-RJD grand alliance
- Mr Sinha, 72, has often parried questions on his future course of action
BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha, who has unfailingly attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi in sarcasm-laden tweets, is likely to be replaced by Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad as the party's Lok Sabha candidate from Bihar's Patna Sahib constituency that he currently represents. Mr Sinha may contest the elections as an independent, backed by the Congress-RJD Mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance.
The BJP is expected to soon release the first list of Lok Sabha candidates; the party led by PM Modi discussed candidates in a marathon meeting that went on till late on Saturday. Ravi Shankar Prasad is currently a Rajya Sabha member from Bihar.
Mr Sinha, 72, has often parried questions on his future course of action. In recent months, he has been seen with opposition leaders; he recently met RJD chief Lalu Yadav's family and also attended West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's mega opposition rally in January, representing former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha's newly-formed party.
"As far as elections are concerned, Patna is my first, second and last choice," Mr Sinha had recently said.
Shatrughan Sinha, who won elections in 2014 on BJP ticket, had a fallout with the party leadership after he was left out of the cabinet. He has since publicly criticized the party leadership and the Prime Minister.
Keeping with its seat-sharing formula in the state, the BJP has given 17 seats to the Janata Dal (United) - including its traditional constituencies of Gaya, Siwan and Katihar - while keeping an equal number for itself. However, the BJP has refused to part with Darbhanga, which Chief Minister Nitish Kumar wanted for his close aide, Sanjay Jha.
For the BJP, all Union Ministers from Bihar - barring Giriraj Singh - will contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from their old constituencies, according to sources. Giriraj Singh will contest from Begusarai instead of Nawada, which has gone to the LJP as part of the seat-sharing arrangement between the allies.
The Janata Dal (United) will contest from Nalanda, Purnea, Gopalganj, Siwan,Valmiki Nagar, Jhankharpur, Sitamarhi, Supaul, Kishanganj, Madhepura, Jehanabad, Aurangabad, Karakat, Munger, Gaya and Jehanabad, leaving Hajipur, Jamui, Vaishali, Samastipur, Khagaria and Nawada for the Ram Vilas Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party.
The general election is scheduled to be held from April 11 to May 19. Polling in Bihar will be conducted in seven phases.