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Rahul bats for dignified deal

The Congress high command has firmly advocated for a respectable Lok Sabha poll alliance in the state.

“The AICC (All India Congress Committee) vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, holds the view that the alliance should be respectable. Else, we should contest the polls alone,” said the Congress’s state spokesperson, Prem Chand Mishra.

A group of Bihar Congress leaders met Rahul in New Delhi on Saturday evening. They were told to be ready to contest all the 40 seats in Bihar.

“The word respectable has a wide connotation. Even if there is an alliance, Rahulji wants the party to be able to field candidates from all the regions. The candidates should be taken from the core sections of the society the party wants to woo —minorities, backward castes, upper castes and Dalits. For that, we shall require at least a dozen seats if not more,” said a senior Bihar Congress leader.

Pointing out that Rahul held the view that alliances forged in Bihar so far had been of little advantage to the party, he said: “He (Rahul) thinks the tie-ups benefited some leaders and not the party.”

The RJD gave the Congress a raw deal in two earlier Lok Sabha polls. In 2004, the Congress was left with just four seats while the LJP contested in eight. In 2009, the party snapped ties with the RJD after Lalu Prasad gave the Congress just three seats and 12 to the LJP. The party contested the elections alone and won in two seats.

The state Congress leaders said Rahul did not mention about any particular formation. “The majority of the party leaders in Bihar are in favour of an alliance with Lalu but there is a feeling in a section of the high command that ties with Lalu might dilute its stance against corruption. “We cannot criticise the inclusion of B.S. Yeddyurappa in the BJP in Karnataka and forge alliance with Lalu in Bihar,” said a party leader.

Lalu appears desperate for an alliance with the Congress and the LJP. The Congress is likely to push him for more seats this time.

The LJP has left the alliance issue with the Congress. The party chief, Ram Vilas Paswan, is reported to have said today that the Congress would decide if the secular alliance in Bihar would consist of the RJD or the JD(U).“If the Congress goes with the JD(U) there would be a Congress-LJP-JD(U) alliance. If it goes with the RJD, there would be a Congress-RJD-LJP alliance,” Paswan reportedly said.