A decision on the chief ministerial face of the Opposition Grand Alliance in Bihar has not been taken yet, the Congress said on Friday, soon after the Election Commission announced the schedule for the Assembly polls.
The Congress’s assertion assumes significance since it come a day after Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) chief Upendra Kushwaha on Thursday said that he would “not accept the leadership of Tejashwi Yadav” in the RJD-led Grand Alliance, and that his party is keeping all options open.
Kushwaha, who had quite the NDA before last year’s Lok Sabha polls, also said that his party is preparing to contest all 243 seats in the coming Vidhan Sabha elections.
Congress’s Bihar in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil on Friday said the people of Bihar want the Opposition to fight together to oust the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government, and all parties should shed their ego to honour that wish of the people.
The RJD has already declared that Yadav would be its CM candidate, and the Congress’s assertion signals the continuing tug of war in the alliance.
Gohil said Bihar is a politically vibrant state and friction between parties is natural.
“Our attempt is to ensure that all like-minded parties remain together. The people of Bihar want change. The responsibility is on our shoulders. We have to understand people’s feelings and put up a united fight to remove bad governance,” Gohil said. He also maintained that every party wants to contest more seats, “so some amount of friction will be there”.
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The Congress, he said, is in constant touch with Kushwaha. “He left the NDA..he was a (Union) minister in the NDA government – he has seen the NDA from close quarters. He left the NDA on a matter of principle…” the Congress leader said when asked about Kushwaha’s remarks that all options are open for him.
On RJD’s decision to project Yadav as the CM face, Gohil said every party has the right to project its leader. “If RJD has declared its CM face, no one has any objection. But when it comes to the alliance… we are talking to all our allies… we have reached a certain stage. There is still time. I can’t say anything while discussions are on.”
He said the alliance partners will discuss and a CM face will be declared before the elections if they conclude that such a move will be helpful. “Otherwise…we will fight like this (without a declared CM face),” he said.
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Gohil said the Congress’s strike rate was good in the 2015 Assembly polls. He said this time, too, “we and our allies, whosoever will be with us, will contest and form the government with the people’s blessing”.
He said: “We will discuss and decide…we should keep small issues and our egos aside. There should be no division in the anti-establishment vote.”
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