Tussle between RJD and JD(U) over seat-sharing for the Bihar Assembly elections appeared to have intensified on Friday, with Lalu Prasad’s close aide Raghuvansh Prasad Singh staking claim to 145 seats out of total 243 for his party — a demand sarcastically rejected by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
“If we analyse our performance in Assembly segments as per the Lok Sabha results, we are on number one and two positions at 145 seats, while JD (U) is number one and two only on 43 seats. Nitish Kumar cannot cite the 2010 Assembly show when he was part of NDA. We have all the reasons to contest on more seats than JD (U),” Singh, RJD vice-president and former Union minister, told reporters here.
Singh, often taken as RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s emissary to voice party line, added “winnability” of candidates would be an important determinant in the Assembly polls.
However, when asked by mediapersons to comment on Singh’s statement, Nitish, according to PTI, retorted: “Why 145? The entire 243 seats are available.”
“There has been several rounds of discussion with both RJD and Congress. There is no final word yet but we are trying to take the discussion to logical conclusion,” he further said. He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event here.
RJD has already dismissed any chances of Janata Parivar merger ahead of Bihar polls, with Lalu saying forming an alliance would be the best option.
In another reflection of a “tense” relationship between RJD and JD(U), Lalu Prasad tried to put the Nitish Kumar government on the backfoot by asking it to move the Supreme Court against the Patna High Court order annulling the reservation in job promotions for SCs/STs. The CM, in reply, however, said his government was “serious on such matters” and that RJD was free to raise such issues.
A senior JD (U) leader said RJD has been trying to play “big brother” in the alliance. “Such posturings would continue from either side, but is frought with danger of impression of fissures in Janata Parivar,” said the leader.