The Congress and the RJD are inching closer towards stitching an alliance in Bihar for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections with the two parties broadly agreeing on a seat-sharing arrangement, distributing equally the 40 seats between them and the Congress accommodating allies LJP and NCP from its quota.
Sources privy to the negotiations said Ramvilas Paswan’s LJP wants eight seats while the NCP is asking for two, which include the Katihar seat for its Union minister Tariq Anwar. It also wants a seat for its Bihar unit president Nagmani. “These are preliminary discussions. Any decision will be taken only after the A K Antony Committee (on alliances) gives its final report,” Congress general secretary in charge of Bihar C P Joshi told The Indian Express.
Sources said RJD chief Lalu Prasad Monday had a meeting with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to discuss the seat-sharing arrangement. Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh had a meeting with Paswan Sunday and had spoken to Prasad as well. Although the Congress vice-president had been opposed to the electoral tie-up with Lalu fearing it could harm his anti-corruption stand, sources in the party said he had shed his reservation owing to practical electoral compulsions and pressure from the old guard of the party.
Those who are favouring the alliance have been arguing that the tie-up is between two parties and not between individuals and Rahul Monday virtually endorsed the view by arguing in an interview to Times Now that the Congress was entering into an alliance with a political party and not with an individual.
Meanwhile, RJD chief’s wife and former CM Rabri Devi Monday said the picture would be clear in a “few days”.
“Koi takrahat nahin hai, kahin koi do mat nahin hai (there is no friction neither there are two opinions about it),” she told reporters in Patna when asked about the possible alliance between the Congress, the RJD and the LJP.
“Picture of the alliance will be clear in a few days,” she said. When asked about the seat-sharing arrangement among them, she said, “It will be done… There is no difficulty in that.”