The first test for the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), after the breakdown of the mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) and imprisonment of its president Lalu Prasad after conviction in a fodder scam case, is slated to come up next month in the byelection to the Araria Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar. The seat fell vacant on the death of the RJD MP Mohammed Taslimuddin in September last year. As per rules, the seat has to be filled within six months.Mr. Taslimuddin’s son Sarfaraz Alam is now a Janata Dal (U) legislator. He had fought on the JD(U) ticket as part of an understanding between the two parties. The party is now keen that he come back and contest the seat his father once held. “He [Sarfaraz Alam] is definitely one of the candidates we are considering but there are others too. We will take a formal decision once the election is notified,” RJD spokesperson Manoj K. Jha said. Mr. Alam on his part is ambivalent and is not denying that he may switch sides for the bypoll. “I believe that cadres are the actual party. I am currently in JD(U) and will take a call once I decide to fight,” he told The Hindu. In 2014, Mr. Taslimuddin had won the poll by a margin of over 1.46 lakh votes over the BJP candidate. The JD(U) candidate came a poor third in the contest. If one were to add the votes polled for JD(U) and BJP, they easily exceed RJD’s tally by over 83,000 votes. Mr. Jha disagreed that the bypoll will be a litmus test for his party or a bellwether for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. “We had won the seat in 2014 despite a Modi wave. So I am sure we shall win it once more,” he said.
Hanuma Vihari was a happy man after he ended up picking two crucial wickets on the opening day of the second Test in Perth on Friday.Australia reached 277 for 6 at the close of play on Day 1, with Tim Paine and Pat Cummins being the two not out batsmen.Vihari, who replaced Ravichandran Ashwin in the playing XI, got the wickets of opener Marcus Harris (70) and Shaun Marsh (45) to finish the day with 2 for 53. Ashwin missed out due to a side strain.After Australia were reduced to 148 for 4, Marsh and Travis Head brought Australia back in the game with an 84-run run stand for the fifth wicket. But it was Vihari who succeeded in breaking that partnership when he found the edge of Marsh’s bat to Ajinkya Rahane at slips.Oh, what a feeling for India late on day one with this ripper grab from Ajinkya Rahane!#AUSvIND | @Toyota_Aus pic.twitter.com/jImfIOFY2kcricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) December 14, 2018Earlier, Vihari had also got the wicket of Harris, who completed his maiden half-century after lunch.That’s done a bit!Watch live via Kayo here: https://t.co/mzWOwn19la #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/osacWodOwlcricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) December 14, 2018″It was an important wicket at that stage because he was set and was looking dangerous after lunch,” Vihari said at the post match press conference.On his own bowling, Vihari said his job was to bowl tight lines and give the pacers some rest.”Overall, I was prepared for that [to bowl] and happy that I could do my job. I tried to bowl a little quicker. I was trying to hit the surface a little bit more and get the bounce of the wicket. I tried to keep it tight and give seamers some rest,” Vihari said.advertisementVihari also praised India’s fight and said the morning session on day two could shape the match.”Our plan was to be disciplined and I think we did very well in that aspect after bouncing back in all three sessions. Overall, bowlers put in a great effort.”It was a slow wicket to start with. It gained pace after lunch. Bowlers adjusted really well and we were happy with the way we bowled throughout the day,” he said.”I think the first hour tomorrow will be very crucial. If we get them out below 320 then we are right back in the game.”Harris, Aaron Finch and Travis Head all made half-centuries but none of them was able to really put their foot down on the gas as India pegged the Australians back on a grassy, drop-in wicket that occasionally played a few tricks.Recalled spin-bowling all-rounder Vihari and quick Ishant Sharma claimed two wickets apiece to get the tourists back into the contest after the Australians had won the toss and batted through the first session without losing a wicket.Also Read | Were India conned into playing 4 pacers in Perth? Experts disagree with Kohli’s callAlso Read | For ICC boss, India not among favourites to win 2019 World CupAlso Read | Shane Warne fancies an Australian win: Aussie pacers will blow India away in Perth