The Janata Dal (United) on Tuesday pledged support to former Jharkhand minister Saryu Roy, who is contesting as an Independent candidate against Chief Minister Raghubar Das in the upcoming Assembly elections. Roy’s name had not featured in the candidate lists that the Bharatiya Janata Party had released.

Roy, who held the Food, Public Distribution and Consumer Affairs portfolio, resigned from Das’ Cabinet on Monday and filed his nomination papers from the Jamshedpur (East) Assembly constituency. Das holds the Jamshedpur (East) seat, while Roy is the current MLA from the Jamshedpur (West) seat, which he had won in the 2014 polls.

The Janata Dal (United) is the BJP’s key ally in Bihar. They have decided to contest the upcoming elections separately.

JDU leader Rajiv Ranjan Singh said the party had withdrawn its candidate from the seat, PTI reported. “The JD(U) has decided to support Saryu Roy, who has filed nomination as an independent candidate,” Singh said at a press conference in Ranchi on Tuesday.

“I feel that because he launched a crusade against corruption, he was denied ticket and now he has decided to conduct a symbolic fight against Raghubar Das,” Singh added, according to NDTV. “So Janata Dal United welcomes his move and supports him.”

He added that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will campaign for Roy if the former minister asks. “We all will campaign if Saryu Roy requires our presence,” he said.

Roy had said on Monday that he suspected the BJP did not give him a ticket because of his closeness with Kumar.

The elections for all 81 Assembly seats in Jharkhand will be held in five phases from November 30 to December 20 and the votes will be counted on December 23. The BJP has released names of candidates for 72 seats.