New Delhi: Clouds of uncertainty are looming over the Congress–Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) alliance in Bihar as the two parties are bickering over a seat-sharing formula for the upcoming general elections.
Talks have reached a dead end as the Congress wants a lion’s share; of the 40 seats in the state, the grand old party wants 24, leaving 16 seats for the RJD. This is not agreeable to RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav. The Congress argues the need for 24 seats as it has to accommodate Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and the newly-formed Rashtriya Loksamata Party (RLP) of rebel JD(U) leader Upendra Kushwaha.
Congress sources confirmed that the two parties have not yet arrived at a mutual consensus over the ongoing tussle. A senior Congress leader told dna on condition of anonymity that the party would like to have 24 seats of which it can give four seats to Paswan’s LJP. Leaders also indicated that if seat sharing does not work out with RJD, the Congress will field candidates in all 40 seats, as it did in the 2009 general elections. At the time, Congress had won just two seats while RJD, which contested 28 seats, won four.
RJD leaders are naturally questioning the basis for the Congress’ demand for such a high number of seats this time around. A senior party leader told dna on condition of anonymity, “What is the presence of Congress in the state? Congress’ demand is absolutely baseless. We need to contest from atleast 25 constituencies.”
RJD feels that the main contest in the state will be with BJP. “If BJP has to be stopped, the secular forces need to unite. And we do not want the secular votes to get divided. JD (U) is not in the reckoning at all. The main fight is with the BJP in the state,” said the leader.