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Sonia-Lalu to share dais: Cong

Patna, April 8: Senior Congress leader Prem Chandra Mishra today said party president Sonia Gandhi would share the dais with RJD chief Lalu Prasad during campaign to bury rumours about possible split in the alliance.

“It is not that we do not want to share the dais with our alliance leaders (Lalu). You will get to see in the future that both leaders (Sonia and Lalu) are sharing the dais in the next five phases of polling,” Mishra told reporters.

Incidentally, political grapevine had indicated that the RJD-Congress alliance was under strain due to a secret pact between Lalu and Narendra Modi. A section of Congress leaders blamed Lalu for “allowing” LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and RLSP leader Upendra Kushwaha to cross over to the NDA. There were speculations that the there would be no future alliance between the Congress and RJD.

Mishra, accompanied by RJD national spokesman Manoj Kumar Jha, said both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi had sought votes for the UPA — Congress and RJD — candidates in Aurangabad and Sasaram rallies. Not only this, Kanti Singh, the RJD candidate from Karakat, was present on the dais during Sonia’s rally in Sasaram on April 3.

Mishra, on March 31, a day before Rahul’s public meeting in Aurangabad, had said there had not been the tradition of sharing the dais of party president Sonia and vice-president Rahul with that of leaders of any other parties.

Both the parties jointly convened a press conference to clear the misgivings regarding the Congress-RJD alliance. Both Mishra and Jha summarily rejected the reports appearing in a section of the media that all was not well in the alliance.

The Congress sealed pre-poll electoral alliance with the RJD and the NCP in the state to stop division of secular votes. As per the electoral arrangement, out of 40 parliamentary seats, Congress, RJD and NCP would contest 12, 27 and 1 seats, respectively.

Mishra, the state Congress vice-president, said there have been negative reports in the media that everything was not well in the alliance as both Sonia and Rahul were not sharing dais with Lalu. Besides, both parties have fielded their candidates in bypolls for five Assembly seats in the state. “It is confusing and baseless reports that there are differences in the alliance. Instead, alliance is running smoothly,” RJD leader Jha said, adding that sharing dais is not so important.

Stating that it would not have any bearing on the Lok Sabha alliance as why both parties could not have electoral understanding in the Assembly bypolls, Jha said: “We are fighting for a bigger cause. Assembly bypolls are small issues. There is every possibility that we might again meet for the 2015 Assembly polls.”


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