After snubbed by Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is set to give the same treatment to the Congress Party in Bihar. On Wednesday, a senior party leader stated that RJD will contest 20 to 22 of the total 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar leaving the rest for its allies.
Citing RJD’s mass appeal in Bihar as the reason to contest as many seats, RJD state President Ramchandra Purbe said that RJD deserves this and will win most of the Lok Sabha seats in Bihar. However, this comes as a major setback to Congress’ desire to play on front foot in Bihar. Earlier, Congress party claimed that it will contest elections on at least 15 seats, which do not seem to be fitting into the scheme of things now.
Speaking about the seat sharing equation, Purbe further added that the seat-sharing equation is yet to be finalized. He added that leaders of all the parties of the grand alliance are in talks and will soon reach a common minimum programme. “Leaders of the Grand Alliance have met and discussed seat sharing with (RJD chief) Lalu Prasad. The seat sharing will be finalised, with consensus. There is no problem in it,” said Purbe.
RJD’s ally partners in Bihar include the Congress, Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM) of former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party of former Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha, Vikas Sheel Insan Party (VIP) and CPI (M). Not to forget the fact that in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, RJD won only four seats while the Congress could get just two. The BJP-led NDA won 31 seats, with the BJP’s tally being 22.
Moreover, if RJD decides to contest 22 seats, the Grand Old Party will be getting at most 10 seats. Under this equation, RLSP will get 4 seats, HAM will contest 2 seats, CPI (M) and Vikas Sheel Insan Party (VIP) will get 2 seats each. Earlier, Tejashwi Yadav too indicated that RJD will contest on 20-22 seats.
Earlier, in what can be called as a major jolt to the Congress’ plans of united opposition against the BJP, Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) declared to go without the Grand Old Party in the upcoming general elections in UP. The SP-BSP gave the clear indication that their coalition will contest 75 seats while remaining seats will be left for other coalition partners.
According to media reports, the INC will not be the part of the grand coalition formed against the BJP. The recent developments indicate that Grand coalition might comprise of only the regional parties and this would mean a clear marginalization of the Congress party. The INC more or less has become irrelevant in UP and it is on its way to becoming irrelevant in states like Bihar as well.