After the NDA announcement of seat-sharing in Bihar, the focus has now shifted to the RJD-led Grand Alliance, which may be facing a problem of plenty.
The Grand Alliance saw the recent additions of Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP and EBC leader Mukesh Sahni’s Vikasshil Insaan Party. Former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (S) has already been part of it. CPI and CPI(ML) are also likely to align with it.
Sources said that alliance partners including Congress have started putting pressure on RJD directly and indirectly. RJD sources have hinted at a “20-20” formula — RJD keeping 20 seats and leaving the other 20 for the Congress and other allies.
An RJD leader said: “Our leader has hinted that seat-sharing talks will begin only after January 14. We will have seat-wise discussion on winnability of candidates.” About the “20-20 formula”, the RJD leader said it could be possible, but there was no word on it.
A senior Congress leader said: “Our political stock has gone up since the recent Assembly poll victories…. There is a change in perception that the NDA can be defeated… This should translate into more seats for us in Bihar… We would like to contest 12 seats.”
Asked how Sharad Yadav, Kushwaha, Sahni and Manjhi would then be accommodated, the Congress leader said: “Most of them are small parties and can be given a seat each, while Kushwaha can get three-four seats.”
An RLSP leader said they were assured five seats in Bihar and one in Jharkhand. RJD sources, however, called this “too optimistic”.
Former MP Sharad Yadav’s Loktantrik Janta Dal has been also pitching for at least two seats, but RJD has reportedly offered one seat (Madhepura), and a candidate of its recommendation to contest on RJD symbol.
HAM(S) has been demanding three seats, but may get only one. “If this happens, we won’t contest. We won’t walk away from the Grand Alliance but wait for 2020 Assembly polls,” said a party leader.
CPI and CPI-ML are likely to be given a seat each.
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