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Sunday, December 05, 2021

Bihar assembly bypolls: Opposition rift widens as Lalu Prasad mocks Congress candidates

"Should we have given one seat (to Congress) for it to lose? So that it could lose even its deposit?" Lalu Prasad Yadav said. Meanwhile, Congress leader Bhakta Charan Das had recently said the party is no longer part of the RJD-led alliance in Bihar.

Written by Sourav Roy Barman | New Delhi |
Updated: October 25, 2021 11:09:52 am
Rahul Gandhi with Lalu Prasad Yadav on Ram Vilas Paswan's first death anniversary at his residence on October 8. (Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

Ahead of the bypolls to two Assembly seats in Bihar, the rift in the Opposition widened Sunday, with RJD chief Lalu Prasad claiming that the Congress candidates would lose their deposit in the elections.

The Kusheshwar Asthan and Tarapur seats are scheduled to go to bypolls on October 30. The seats fell vacant after the death of the sitting MLAs — both from the JD(U).

The RJD and the Congress had fought the 2020 Bihar polls as part of an alliance, and as part of the seat-sharing agreement, the Congress had contested from Kusheshwar Asthan — a seat it lost by 7,200 votes.


United front remains a challenge

However, this time around, the RJD has refused to allow the Congress to contest either bypoll, straining relations between both parties.

On Sunday, Lalu told reporters, “Why should we give the seat to Congress? So that they would lose? So they would lose their deposit?” The RJD chief was responding to a question on a statement by Congress Bihar in-charge Bhakta Charan Das, who had earlier said that the alliance between the two parties would have remained intact had the RJD spared one seat for the Congress.

Earlier in the week, RJD’s Manoj Jha had said that Das was “lecturing from his drawing room”, drawing a sharp response from newly-inducted Congress leader Kanhaiya Kumar on Friday.

“Had people like him (Das) not been in the party, Jignesh (Mevani) and I could not have gathered the courage to join Congress. Do ask your masters in the drawing room who Bhakta Charan Das is,” Kanhaiya had said.

After meeting Congress leader R P N Singh on Saturday, Jan Adhikar Party chief Pappu Yadav too had hit out at Lalu, terming the RJD “BJP’s B-team”.

However, Lalu on Sunday scoffed at the suggestions that the RJD is colluding with the BJP. He also revealed that he plans to spend a month in Patna, and downplayed reports of disagreements between his sons Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav, saying, “There is no anger. Both are my sons.”

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