Lok Sabha elections 2019: Crucial grand alliance meeting on seat-sharing deferr…

Amid reports of discontent over allocation of seats among its allies, the Grand Alliance (GA) postponed its Sunday’s scheduled meeting to resolve the issue before launching the campaign for Lok Sabha elections in Bihar.

Reports have it that the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is not contented with the number of seats allotted to the Congress, while other allies including Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) and Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular (HAM-S) are demanding for more number of seats.

Trouble began when the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) campaign committee chairman Akhilesh Prasad Singh on Friday announced that the Congress would contest 11 out of 40 seats, after the party’s meeting in Patna on Friday.

A subsequent tweet of RJD leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, suggesting ‘the alliance partner to desist demanding more seats, as law abiding and those having faith in the constitution would not forgive them in future’ caused a furore in the GA. However, no one is coming forth with any official statement on whether the seat-sharing talks in the GA have hit a rough patch.

RJD spokesman Manoj Jha refused to elaborate, saying that the GA leaders would have met on Sunday, had everything been normal.

Brushing aside Singh’s contention that the Congress was to contest on 11 seats from Bihar, All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge for Bihar Shaktisinh Gohil said the final allocation of seats among the coalition partners was yet to be decided. “Being a lead partner in Bihar, RJD leader Tejashwi has been tasked to hold the GA meeting,” he said, adding that everything was going well in the alliance.

Apparently discontented by the Congress’ claim on 11 seats, Tejashwi may call on senior Congress leaders and party president Rahul Gandhi to resolve the issue before the crucial GA’s meet.

Some RJD leaders claimed that the party might jump into the poll fray with other allies like RLSP, HAM-S and Mukesh Sahni-led Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) in case the Congress refrains from reconsidering its decision to contest 11 seats. The Left parties are also waiting for the GA’s seat-sharing pact to chalk out their own poll strategies.

BPCC election preparedness committee member Kishore Kumar Jha, however, dismissed the possibilities of cracks in the GA, saying that the break-up would affect winning prospects of the Congress as well as the RJD. “I hope that RJD chief Lalu Prasad might not be wishing for results 2009 Lok Sabha polls and 2010 assembly polls, when both Congress and RJD, had to eat a humble pie,” said Jha.

Another senior Congress leader said that the RJD was unnecessarily asking for more seats to be allocated to RLSP and HAM-S as both the parties have hardly any winnable candidates. “Many prominent leaders of RSLP and HAM-S have already deserted the parties to join rival camps. RJD and other partners should be blamed for bolstering the NDA’s poll prospects by insisting on more seats for smaller parties.”

RLSP is demanding four seats, while HAM-S is insisting to contest four or five seats. The GA would prefer to finalise the seat-sharing talks soon as NDA is already a step ahead.

First Published:
Mar 18, 2019 01:35 IST

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