PATNA: While Bihar’s Opposition RJD-led Grand Alliance has grown larger and feels more confident than before, it is currently witnessing severe discontent among the allies over sharing of seats for the Lok Sabha polls.
With RJD, the pivot in the alliance, insisting on contesting on 20 out of the state’s 40 LS seats in order to retain its leading position, the other parties in the alliance are under pressure for compromises and have demanded a formal meeting to thrash out the pact, said sources.
The Grand Alliance now has RJD, Congress, former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), Mukesh Sahni’s Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP), Sharad Yadav’s Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD), three Left parties – CPI, CPI(ML) and CPM – and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Congress, the second largest party in the alliance, has reportedly staked claim for 15 seats while RLSP, VIP and HAM have demanded seven, six and three seats respectively.
In the 2014 LS polls, RJD and Congress had contested in alliance on 27 and 13 seats respectively. RLSP and HAM, who were in NDA then, switched over to the Grand Alliance last year. VIP is a three-month-old party that joined the alliance last month.
Bihar Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav of RJD, who is the party’s de-facto chief, had a meeting with his jailed father and party chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in Ranchi on December 29 along with Upendra Kushwaha and Mukesh Sahni. With Kushwaha and Sahni insisting on getting seven and six seats respectively and Lalu disagreeing, the meeting remained inconclusive, said RJD sources.
A formal announcement of the seat-sharing pact would be made after the kharmas (astrologically inauspicious month) is over on January 14. All the parties of the alliance are likely to hold a meeting at Tejashwi Yadav’s residence on January 7 to seal the pact, said sources.
While RLSP sources said the party could finally get five seats in Bihar and one seat in Jharkhand, sources in VIP said it could get four seats. Mukesh Sahni is keen to contest from Darbhanga, they added.
“Sharing of seats will not be a problem in the Grand Alliance. Every party is free to stake claim to any number of seats till formal talks are held. Our single-point aim is to defeat the corrupt, inefficient BJP-led NDA,” said RJD national vice-president Shivanand Tiwari.