After days of negotiations and hard bargaining, the RJD-led opposition Grand Alliance in Bihar on Friday seemed to have more or less arrived at a seat-sharing arrangement, although the parties are yet to make an official announcement on the details, as they are said to be keeping an eye on the developments in the NDA.
Sources in the Congress claimed the RJD has agreed to give it 68 to 70 seats. The Congress had contested 41 seats in 2015, winning 27.
While one Congress leader said 68 is the final number, another leader said, “The number we have is 69, but we are pushing for one more seat.”
Sources in the Left confirmed that between the three parties they have been allotted 29 seats. The CPI is set to get six seats, while the CPI(M) is likely to fight on four. The CPI(ML), which has three MLAs in the current House, is set contest 19 seats, leaders said.
Sources said that the parties are to resolve claims and counterclaims on certain specific seats. These differences, they said, are now based only on specific decisions on which party best fits what seat, and that there is now very little chance of anyone walking away, with an agreement broadly in place.
“The RJD, for instance, at the moment will have 138 seats. Based on final, ground-level checks on winnability, this can go up one or two seats, or may come down one,” a senior leader said.
On Friday, CPI(ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya and the party’s Bihar unit secretary, Kunal, met RJD leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav to discuss seat-sharing details. The Left party was seeking 20 seats. Earlier, the RJD had offered it 15 seats.
Kunal later said, “Our talks with RJD went well. There will be final rounds of discussion before any official announcement is made.”
RJD spokesperson Mrityunjay Tewari said, “We are close to announcing our tie-up with Left parties. The RJD-Congress-Left would be a formidable alliance against NDA.”
A senior Congress leader said the parties are keeping an eye on the developments in the NDA, which is yet to come out with the seat-sharing formula because of hard bargaining by Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). The LJP has called a meeting of its Parliamentary board on Saturday to decide its next course of action.
Meanwhile, addressing a “Gandhi Chetna Rally” to mark the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Congress president launched a scathing attack on the BJP. “Today, some people swear by Gandhiji’s name but demolish his ideals and principles through their actions,” Sonia said. “There is violence, anarchy, atrocities…mistreatment everywhere. Deliberately an environment of discrimination has been created in the society where atrocities are being inflicted on innocent people.
“Enough is enough. I want to say that some people are running the government by creating an atmosphere of emotion, confusion and fear (bhavna, bhram aur bhay). You (people) need to remain alert and cautious and take the right decisions.”
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