The party’s dilemma came to the fore on Wednesday when its secretaries in charge, Bihar, K L Sharma and Paresh Dhanani, during a review meeting at Sadaquat Ashram, sought to know from the local leaders the pros and con of pre-poll alliance with different secular parties or contesting alone. Wednesday was the first day of two-day meeting to review constituency-wise preparation of Congress for the next LS polls.
“Issues related to the organisational strength, political scenario and name of possible candidates for altogether 24 LS constituencies were discussed on Wednesday while the names for rest 16 constituencies will come up for discussion on Thursday,” according to state vice-president and media in charge Prem Chandra Mishra. Besides state-level leaders, district Congress presidents, district coordinators, state vice-president and state general secretary in charge of respective constituencies attended the meeting.
Sources said, Sharma and Dhanani, during the meeting, inquired from each leader the benefits and losses of pre-poll alliance or contesting alone. They also asked the party men to prepare themselves for contesting all the 40 LS seats in Bihar.
Insiders said the issue of pre-poll alliance with either RJD or JD (U) also came up for discussion. But local leaders expressed divergent views on having an alliance with Lalu Prasad’s RJD or Nitish Kumar’s JD (U).
The leaders favouring alliance with Lalu Prasad argued the RJD was the second largest constituent in UPA-I after Congress with 22 seats in Lok Sabha. A fresh alliance with RJD andLJP could repeat the 2004 magic, when the three parties had together walked away with 29 of the 40 seats. Congress had then bagged three seats while LJP had got four. When RJD-LJP broke away from the Congress in 2009, the results were disastrous for them. While RJD could win only four seats, Congress won two and LJP failed to open its account, with its chief Ram Vilas Paswan suffering a humiliating defeat on his home turf, Hajipur.
The leaders favouring alliance with JD (U) argued that Congress should not go with a leader who was recently convicted on serious charges of corruption and had to remain in jail.