Senior Janata Dal - United leader George Fernandes, who was denied a ticket to contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls on grounds of his ill health, will contest as an independent candidate from Muzaffarpur. He will file his nomination papers on April 1.
Fernandes decided to contest the elections after holding a meeting with his supporters in Muzaffarpur on Thursday.
"George Fernandes will file nomination papers on April 1," said his close associate Ganesh Yadav.
Fernandes' decision is a major blow to JD-U leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who had tried his best to downplay the issue when it was brought up by media persons today morning.
Though the JD-U refused to grant him a ticket citing health reasons, the septuagenerian leader has refuted reports about his health and declared that he was 'fit and fine'.
"I am sitting fit and fine before you," Fernandes had told a press conference in Muzaffarpur on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar remained stuck to the party's decision of not giving a Lok Sabha ticket to Fernandes, saying the decision was taken after 'due deliberation'.
"Simply saying that Fernandes was denied a ticket is not correct. The party requested him not to contest the Lok Sabha polls owing to his health problems and offered him a Rajya Sabha nomination instead. The decision was taken after due deliberation," Kumar told reporters.
"The party took the decision as it did not want to burden him with the pressures of a parliamentary election. There is no politics in it," he said.
Maintaining that the party has not shown any disrespect to the senior leader, Kumar said Fernandes is not in a condition to withstand the strain of contesting Lok Sabha polls.
"There is a human aspect to the decision, which should be seen. It pains me when it is projected that the party denied Fernandes a ticket," he added