Congress asks like-minded parties to unite for Bihar polls or choose other option if some compulsion

The screening committee meeting was held on Wednesday in which Bihar unit chief Madan Mohan Jha, CLP leader Sadanand Singh and senior party leaders from the state were present.

Published: 01st October 2020 11:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st October 2020 11:54 AM   |  A+A-

Senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil.

Senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil. (File Photo | PTI)


NEW DELHI: All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge of Bihar Shaktisinh Gohil on Wednesday said that all like-minded parties should come together for Bihar Assembly polls or they can choose another option if there is some compulsion.

"It was shocking to see some Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leaders' statements over seat arrangement. We have talked over seat arrangments. If there is an issue on this, then there should be a discussion between leaders of both parties. We want that all like-minded parties should come together, however, if there is some compulsion they can choose another option," Gohil told ANI.

"We have an old alliance with RJD. Secular votes should not be divided. It is the demand of this time," he said.

He said that the screening committee meeting was held on Wednesday in which Bihar unit chief Madan Mohan Jha, CLP leader Sadanand Singh and senior party leaders from the state were present.

"We are trying to give a good alternative in Bihar," he said.

According to a leader present in the meeting, besides CLP leader and PCC Chief, heads of frontal organisations also attended the meeting and gave a list of potential candidates from their respective wings of the party like Youth Congress and Mahila Congress.

"Congress is also working on a plan B if things don't go well in seat sharing. The party has conducted surveys also on the possible seats to fight and all potential candidates too," the leader added.

Earlier, RJD leader Manoj Jha said that Congress should not be stubborn over the seat-sharing formula.

During his Patna visit, Avinash Pandey, chief of Congress screening committee for Bihar polls, said that the party is ready to contest all 243 seats if a respectful seat-sharing agreement within Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) is not reached.

The RJD-Congress-Left alliance is holding final rounds of seat-sharing talks for Bihar assembly elections and an announcement is likely to be made soon.

Ahead of the announcement, RJD and Congress are pressurising each other to get more "winnable seats". Sources said negotiations between RJD and Congress are still being held on about 10 seats.

They said RJD is likely to contest about 150 seats in the 243-member assembly.

"Congress will get about 70 seats and the Left parties are will be given around 20 seats," a source told ANI.

The nomination for the first phase of voting in Bihar will start from October 1.

The sources said that it was decided during the beginning of negotiations that seat-sharing will be based on 2015 formula, according to which 41 seats were to go to Congress and 101 seats to RJD.

Of the remaining 101 seats, which were fought by Janata Dal (United) in 2015, 50 were to be fought by RJD, 30 by Congress and 20 by Left parties.

The sources said Congress has been cautious due to the experience it had in 2019 Lok Sabha elections "when 12 seats were fixed for the party in the alliance but later got only nine seats".

Bihar assembly elections will be held in three phases -- October 28, November 3 and 7 and the counting of votes will take place on November 10.

In the 2015 Assembly polls, JD-U, RJD, and Congress had fought the elections together under the Mahagathbandhan banner. On the other hand, the BJP-led NDA had fought the elections with Lok Janshakti Party and other allies.

RJD with 80 seats had emerged as the single largest party in the elections, followed by JD-U (71), and BJP (53). However, BJP got the largest vote share (24.42 per cent), followed by RJD with 18.35 per cent and JD-U (16.83 per cent).

Differences later emerged between the RJD and JD-U and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar returned to NDA.


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