PATNA:In a move to consolidate the newly formed “grand secular alliance” to counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aggressive Assembly election campaign in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and senior Congress leader C P Joshi announced their seat-sharing formula here on Wednesday.
“Bihar’s ruling JD(U) and the RJD will contest 100 seats each and leave out 40 for the Congress in upcoming elections,” Nitish announced at a joint news conference with the RJD and the Congress leaders.
He said no decision had been taken on the remaining three seats in the 243-member state Assembly. These seats may go to the NCP, which is also a constituent of the alliance.
Defending his decision to contest only 100 seats, Lalu said, “We made sacrifice for a larger cause to keep the communal forces at bay.” On the seat-sharing arrangement for the Samajwadi Party, another alliance partner whose leader Mulayam Singh is currently heading this alliance, he said, “He is my relative and if need be I will accommodate him from my quota.”
In the current arrangement, all the parties in the alliance are contesting fewer seats compared to the 2010 Assembly elections. The JD(U) had put up candidates in 141 seats and won 115 while the RJD contested 168 constituencies but could win only 22 seats. The Congress had contested all the 243 seats but could manage to win only four.
Denying reports of internal differences in the alliance, he said, “We are united and there is no difference among us. We will together defeat the NDA in the Assembly elections.” The BJP strategy to create a rift between him and Nitish won’t bear fruit, he added.
The alliance will hold a ‘swabhiman rally’ on August 30 at the Gandhi Maidan here, said Nitish. “We will have a common minimum programme,” he added.
On the possibility of Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi’s participation in the rally, Joshi said it would be announced later.