June 25, 2024

The Bihar

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RJD-LJP-Cong alliance final in Bihar, Ram Vilas Paswan says

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LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan during a press conference in PatnaNew Delhi: Shedding his discomfort with RJD, LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan on Thursday announced that the two parties, along with Congress, will contest the next Lok Sabha elections jointly in Bihar.

The three parties will now work out seat-sharing, he told PTI.

“RJD-LJP and Congress will fight the next Lok Sabha poll together in Bihar. Now the talks among the three parties are only about the number of seats each of us will contest,” he said.

He dismissed reports in the media about LJP apprehending losses by aligning with the RJD.

Paswan had earlier said that there are two views within the LJP on whether to align with Lalu Prasad’s RJD or Nitish Kumar’s JD (U) and that he had left this decision to Congress.

Today, he said a view has gradually emerged that “it is this alliance of RJD-LJP and Congress” which can pose a formidable challenge to the BJP, which is a “communal force”.

He met Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday for the second time in the last one month to discuss the issue of poll alliance in Bihar.

LJP sources said later that Paswan told Gandhi that his party will not talk to Lalu Prasad on the issue of seat-sharing, reflecting the unease between the two parties.

Paswan accompanied by his son and LJP parliamentary board chairman Chirag Paswan had also made it clear to Gandhi that LJP, which had contested on 12 Lok Sabha seats, will like to contest on at least 10 seats this time.

Party sources said that LJP has already given to AICC general secretary in charge of Bihar CP Joshi a list of 10 seats it wants to contest. It includes nine of the 12 seats LJP had contested in 2009 where it came second. It had lost all seats.

Lalu Prasad had also met Sonia Gandhi once and Rahul Gandhi twice to discuss the alliance.

Congress, which was earlier not sure about aligning with the RJD after Lalu Prasad’s conviction in fodder scam, has lately made it clear that it has no problems with that party.

Rahul Gandhi, asked recently how Congress could align with Prasad, had said, “our alliance (in Bihar) would be with the idea of a political party, not with an individual”.

Latching on to his comments, Paswan said the issue stands settled after Rahul Gandhi’s remarks.

“As far as seat-sharing is concerned, all the three parties will sit together and finalize it,” Paswan said.

LJP sources have been maintaining that it wants Congress to play the role of an “elder brother” in finalizing seats.

A section in the party was incensed at the statements of senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh that Paswan’s party should disclose its pehelwans (candidates) first and then demand seats. He had said LJP should concentrate on winning more seats than contesting.

In 2009 Lok Sabha polls, RJD and LJP had contested 28 and 12 seats, respectively, in Bihar as Congress had walked out of the alliance in a huff after being offered only three seats. RJD had later fielded candidates on all those three seats.

The results were an electoral disastrous for the all the three parties. While LJP failed to open its account, RJD could win only four seats and Congress two.

In 2004, when these parties had fought together, they had won 29 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar.

Sources say the formula being discussed is that RJD could contest on 20 Lok Sabha seats, Congress ten, LJP eight and NCP two.

However, sources in the RJD had earlier maintained that it is the major constituent in the alliance and is keen to contest on around 25 seats, leaving five-six for LJP, seven for Congress, one for NCP and one for CPI(ML).

Amid claims and conflicting claims, hard bargaining is expected in coming days before an alliance is finally stitched for the crucial Hindi state.

Courtesy: PTI

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