The support of 21 RJD MLAs would see the official candidates of JD(U) sail through in the RS polls.

Responding positively to former Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s appeal, the RJD on Wednesday decided to support the JD(U) in the Rajya Sabha elections for two seats.

After a series of meetings with party legislators and senior leaders, RJD president Lalu Prasad said his party MLAs would vote for the two official candidates of the JD(U) in the RS polls on Thursday.

“The RJD will support the two candidates of the JD(U) in the RS polls. Our party has taken the decision in the interest of Bihar to establish socialist and secular forces here in future and to make unsuccessful the BJP conspiracy to destabilise the government here,” Mr. Prasad told media persons.

The RJD decision came as a welcome relief for Mr. Kumar’s party whose candidates, former diplomat Pawan Kumar Varma and veteran leader Ghulam Rasool Baliyawi were facing stiff challenge from two candidates, industrialist Sabir Ali and real estate baron Anil Kumar Sharma, put up by party dissidents.

The support of 21 RJD MLAs would see the official candidates of JD(U) sail through in the RS polls. So far they were falling short of a majority.

The Assembly had 243 seats out of which 11 are vacant, bringing down the effective strength to 232.

The JD(U) had 117 MLAs including the Speaker, the BJP 84, the RJD 21, the Congress four, the CPI one and five Independents.

In this scenario, the RS candidates needed 117 votes to secure a win. the JD(U) sources have put the strength of dissident MLAs at around 20.