Bihar BJP president Nityanand Rai was on Thursday mobbed and heckled by supporters of a party rebel, who has filed his nomination as an Independent candidate from Katihar Lok Sabha constituency notwithstanding the seat going to alliance partner JD(U) headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Rai called on BJP MLC Ashok Kumar Agarwal at his residence and spent over two hours trying to persuade him to withdraw his nomination in favour of the JD(U) candidate Dulal Chandra Goswami, who would seek to wrest the seat for NDA from Tariq Anwar of the Congress.
The BJP had won the seat three times on the trot in 1999, 2004 and 2009 with support of the JD(U).
In 2014, when Nitish Kumar went it alone, the three-time BJP MP Nikhil Kumar Choudhary finished the runner-up while Anwar then with Sharad Pawar's NCP and a several-term MP from Katihar, won after a gap of more than a decade.
The JD(U)s Ram Prakash Mahto had finished third with just over one lakh votes, way behind the BJP candidate, who polled nearly 3.16 lakhs.
However, the seat went to the JD(U) this time after the party's return to the NDA as the alliance had to make many adjustments to accommodate the Chief Ministers party.
However, when Rai emerged from Agarwal's house here, he found himself surrounded by hundreds of the MLCs supporters who had kept shouting slogans outside during the period the state unit chief remained inside.
As Rai tried to get inside his vehicle, he had to jostle with the agitators who were quelled by the police before he could depart.
Later, Agarwal made his intentions clear when he defiantly said roothne manaane ka daur khatm hua (the time for sulking and cajoling is over).
Besides Katihar, the BJP is also faced with the embarrassment of rebellion by its leader in another constituency Banka where former MP Putul Kumari has filed her nomination as an Independent.
On Wednesday, state vice-president and in-charge of party headquarters Davesh Kumar had shot off missives to the rebel candidates to withdraw their nominations and warned them of disciplinary action.
Putul Kumari had made her electoral debut in 2010 as an Independent candidate and won in the by-poll that was necessitated by the death of her husband Digvijay Singh, who had served as a minister in governments headed by V P Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Singh had pulled off a stunning victory in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls when the former JD(U) leader won the seat fighting as an Independent after falling out with Nitish Kumar even though the elections were swept by the NDA which bagged 32 out of 40 seats in the state.
However, Kumari lost to RJDs Jayaprakash Narayan Yadav in 2014 when she contested as a BJP candidate and she has been feeling slighted over the party's decision to give up her seat in favour of an alliance partner which her husband had fought against.
There have been unconfirmed reports that the JD(U) had offered a party ticket to Kumaris daughter, ace shooter Shreyasi Singh, which was not accepted by the family.JD(U) announced its MLA Girdhari Yadav as the candidate from the Banka seat. Kumari announced her decision to file her nominations on Sunday and did the same on Monday.