Key BJP ally, JD(U) on Wednesday changed its nominee from Sitamarhi Lok Sabha constituency and named former Bihar minister Sunil Kumar Pintu as the candidate in place of Dr Barun Kumar. Pintu, four-time BJP MLA from Sitamarhi, switched over to JD(U) on Wednesday in the presence of Water Resources minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh at the party office.

“The party took a decision to name Pintu as its nominee from Sitamarhi after Dr Barun Kumar, who was earlier named as the candidate, expressed his inability to contest the Lok Sabha election,” Singh told reporters.

Sitamarhi will vote on May 6 in the fifth phase, the nomination process for which will begin on April 10.

“We welcome Sunil Kumar Pintu in the JD(U) who will be party’s candidate from Sitamarhi Lok Sabha constituency after Dr Barun Kumar, whom the party earlier named its candidate from Sitamarhi, wrote to the party expressing his inability in contesting the Lok Sabha election from there (Sitamarhi). Dr Barun Kumar apprised the party of his decision after undertaking the tour of the constituency,” he said.

Asked why Dr Barun Kumar chose to opt out, Singh reiterated his request which the party accepted.

Singh, who is himself contesting Lok Sabha election as JD(U) nominee from Munger seat against Congress Neelam Devi, the wife of strongman and Mokama MLA Anant Singh, said Pintu is a four time MLA between 2003 to 2015 from Sitamarhi besides serving as a minister in the NDA government in Bihar between 2010 to 2013.

Asked why he left the BJP, Pintu said that he has resigned from the BJP due to personal reasons and joined JD(U) which offered him the party ticket from Sitamarhi, the constituency which he has nursed for over one-and-a-half decade as MLA and minister.

“I am the candidate of NDA,” Pintu said.

Asserting that there is a rock solid unity in BJP and JD(U), Singh said that it does not matter as which party’s candidate he (Pintu) is. He is the candidate of NDA.

When asked who is his main opponent in Munger, Singh said, “I don’t make any comment on any individual. I always contest elections with all seriousness and gravity. I have served people over 15 years (in Munger) and I would seek my vote on the basis of my work and service done to the people.”