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  India   All India  18 Mar 2019  Defiant Congress delaying Bihar seat-sharing pact

Defiant Congress delaying Bihar seat-sharing pact

THE ASIAN AGE. | NAYEAR AZAD
Published : Mar 18, 2019, 12:50 am IST
Updated : Mar 18, 2019, 12:50 am IST

Sources claim that the Congress party’s stand on the issue is one of the reasons for the delay in building a consensus among grand alliance partners.

Former Bihar chief minister and Hindustani Awami Morcha supremo Jitan Ram Manjhi  (Photo: PTI)
 Former Bihar chief minister and Hindustani Awami Morcha supremo Jitan Ram Manjhi (Photo: PTI)

Patna: With less than a month left for general elections, the grand alliance faces a daunting task of resolving the thorny seat-sharing issue among its allies in Bihar.

Sources claim that the Congress party’s stand on the issue is one of the reasons for the delay in building a consensus among grand alliance partners.

 

To end the deadlock, the RJD parliamentary board last week had passed a resolution and authorised Lalu Yadav to discuss the issue with top leaders of the alliance.

Lalu Yadav, a convict in fodder scam, is undergoing treatment for multiple serious ailments at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIIMS) Ranchi. In the past few months, RIIMS has become a hub of Bihar politics as grand alliance partners have been meeting him to discuss seat-sharing arrangements for the Lok Sabha elections.

However, as per the jail manual, he has been allowed to meet only three persons every Saturday.

Sources claim that after Lalu Yadav gave his nod, top leaders of grand alliance met at the residence of Congress general secretary K.C. Venugopal in New Delhi on Wednesday, but the talks ended without any result.  

 

“Talks are on and we are hopeful that the issue will be resolved within a few days,” RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said after the meeting in New Delhi.

However, he refused to comment on the Congress party’s defiant stand on the issue of seat-sharing in Bihar.

Reports suggest that the Congress is adamant on its demand for 15 seats while the RJD, wanting to keep around 20-21 seats, has been offering only 11 seats.

The other partners who have been rigid in their demands for a sizeable seat share were Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) and Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP).

The two left parties which were being offered one seat each have also issued an ultimatum to quit the grand alliance and contest the Lok Sabha elections on their own if “respectable seats” are not offered.

 

Sources said that the name of former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar was dropped from the CPI first list of candidates last Friday because the RJD refused to field him from the Begusarai constituency.

There is also a feeling in the political circle here that the RJD may consider giving CPI-ML few seats in order to gain in several pockets like Bhojpur, Arwal, Jehanabad and some parts of Siwan where it has a significant support base.

Sources said that during the first round of talks, RJD and Congress mainly discussed Darbhanga, Madhubani and Patna seats. Former cricketer Kirti Azad who recently dumped the BJP and joined the Congress is keen on contesting from Darbhanga which has been his sitting constituency.

 

On the other hand, film star-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha whose tense relationship with BJP is no secret is another strong candidate who also wants to retain his sitting Patna Sahib constituency and may contest on RJD ticket in the 2019 general elections.

“All parties in the grand alliance will be given respectable seats and the decision would be announced in next few days,” RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said.

Sources claim that further delay in seat sharing may adversely affect the grand alliance in Bihar which has to finalise candidates and begin campaigning in the state.

The NDA in Bihar, on the other hand, has already settled the seat-sharing issue and the BJP and JD(U) would be contesting on 17 seats each and Ram Vilas Paswan’s party LJP has been given six seats to contest in the Lok Sabha.

 

However, the LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan will not be contesting 2019 Lok Sabha elections and may enter the Rajya Sabha with BJP’s support.

“Everyone in Bihar knows that the matter can only be resolved by Lalu Yadav who is in Hotwar jail, Ranchi. People will reject this grand alliance during elections as they are aware that Nitish Kumar has been working hard to develop the state,” JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said.

Tags: 2019 general elections, lalu yadav