PATNA: After days of grandstanding by both RJD and Congress over bypolls for two Assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat in Bihar, the two allies on Thursday announced a seat-sharing pact, under which Congress got to contest in one seat instead of none.
The impasse between the two parties ended as state Congress chief Kaukab Quadri and senior RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav agreed that Congress would field a candidate for the Bhabhua Assembly seat while RJD would contest the Araria Lok Sabha seat and the Jehanabad Assembly seat.
With both jailed RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and his son Tejaswi Yadav having said earlier that the regional party would contest all the three seats, Congress had insisted on getting at least one seat to contest and demanded the Bhabhua seat. Congress leaders had also threatened to put up a candidate in Bhabhua if RJD snubbed their request, thus bringing the two parties’ 19-year-old alliance to the brink of collapse.
“There is absolutely no discord between Congress and RJD. Our alliance is strong and will remain so. Congress will contest the Bhabhua seat while RJD will contest in Araria and Jehanabad,” said Tejaswi, who had held a meeting with Quadri on Wednesday night on the issue after getting the go-ahead from the RJD chief.
The development marked a climbdown by RJD due to the many crises the party is currently facing. “Congress would not have got any seat to contest if Lalu were not jailed,” said a senior RJD legislator. RJD leaders were keen on contesting on all the three seats with Congress support.
Tejaswi also announced the two RJD candidates – late Araria RJD MP Mohammad Taslimuddin’s son Sarfaraz Alam for the LS seat and late Jehanabad RJD MLA Mudrika Prasad Yadav’s son Suday Yadav for the Assembly seat. Quadri said Congress would announce its candidate for Bhabhua in the next few days.
“Our only agenda is to drive out BJP from the seat of power in Bihar as it entered through the back door by robbing the people’s mandate of 2015,” said Tejaswi. Quadri said the RJD-Congress alliance would win all the three seats in the bypolls scheduled for March 11.
The ruling NDA is undergoing tugs of war despite JD(U) having withdrawn from these the polls. BJP’s allies RLSP and HAM are staking claims on the Jehanabad seat. NDA is yet to announce its candidates for the three seats.