Days after Lalu Prasad met the top Congress leadership as part of his efforts to stitch up an alliance with it, LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and asked her to take the lead to form a “secular alliance” in Bihar for the Lok Sabha elections.
While Lalu was in favour of a Congress-RJD-LJP alliance in Bihar, Paswan had opened parleys with Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) a while back. Sources in the Congress, however, said Paswan was now keen to tie up with the Congress as he realises that a Congress-RJD-LJP alliance would be beneficial for him. “Congress is our natural ally. We have requested Congress to take the lead in firming up a secular alliance in Bihar,” Paswan said after meeting Sonia.
Sources close to him said he briefed her about the situation in Bihar and the prospective alliances — be it with the JD(U) or the RJD. Congress sources said a grand alliance of Congress-LJP-RJD would ensure consolidation of Muslims, Dalits and a considerable section of the backward classes which was formidable.
Sources close to Paswan said he has voiced his resentment over statements by some RJD leaders about giving fewer seats to his party in case of an alliance. “We have told her (Sonia) that LJP will respect her opinion but whatever decision is taken should be respectable,” Paswan said. Lalu had met Sonia and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi last week and vowed not to repeat the 2009 mistake of allowing the breakdown of the alliance.