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Alliance not a worry: Nitish

Patna, Dec. 20: Nitish Kumar today tried to downplay the impact of a possible RJD-Congress-LJP alliance on the JD(U)’s Lok Sabha poll fortunes, claiming that the coalition would be traceless during the elections.

Reacting to the possibility of a pact between the Congress and the RJD, Nitish said: “When were they (Congress and RJD) not allies? Both the parties have been in the UPA. This alliance is natural. It is not new as it is being portrayed. There is no need for anyone to worry about the JD(U). That alliance will be traceless during the Lok Sabha polls,” he said.

The Congress leaders clarified that no decision on the alliance had been taken as yet. “The statement of the chief minister on an alliance which has not been formed shows that the JD(U) is worried about such a coalition,” said chief spokesperson of the party, Prem Chandra Mishra.

Till date, he said, the Congress was preparing to contest all 40 seats in the state.

Bihar Congress chief Ashok Choudhary and senior leader Sadanand Singh are in Delhi for talks with leaders on probable allies. A final decision would be taken by the party high command, Mishra added.

Ever since the JD(U) parted ways with the BJP in June, there have been indications that the former would have an alliance with the Congress. But now the party is trying to project that it would contest the polls alone.

“I am sure we will get a substantial number of Muslim votes. This time, it will be very difficult for (RJD chief) Lalu (Prasad) to sway the Yadav votes in favour of the Congress candidates because the caste’s first enemy is Nitish and they might vote for the BJP to defeat the latter,” said a JD(U) leader, insisting that the RJD no more had the support like 2004.

Though two Union ministers of the Congress strongly advocate a tie-up with the JD(U), Bihar Congress leaders like Shakeel Ahmad, Meira Kumar, Nikhil Kumar (Kerala governor) favour an alliance with the RJD because of Lalu’s strong influence on the crucial Yadav votes.

The Congress high command seems to have swung in favour of Lalu after it started talking about alliances in the state.

Lalu has announced in public that his party would have an alliance with the Congress. Senior party leader and former Union minister Raghunath Jha even announced that the Congress would be given 10 seats, thrice the number Lalu was willing to yield in 2009.

Lalu had offered three seats to the Congress in 2009 as the RJD and the LJP took the lion’s share.

The move led to snapping of ties between the Congress and the RJD.