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regular-article-logo Sunday, 19 May 2024

Wrangle over seat sharing might wreck Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance in Bihar

Though there are indications that number of seats for Congress would be finalised on Wednesday evening, issue with CPIML could take longer time to settle

Dev Raj Patna Published 28.03.24, 07:28 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

The wrangle over seat sharing for the Lok Sabha polls could wreck the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) in Bihar, with the Congress and the CPIML in no mood to yield any further to their bigger ally Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

Though there are indications that the number of seats for the Congress would be finalised on Wednesday evening, the issue with the CPIML could take a longer time to settle.

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“The RJD has agreed that our party will contest nine seats out of total 40 in the state. A meeting of the central election committee of our party is scheduled in Delhi in the evening. The names of the seats we will contest could be declared after it is over,” Congress spokesperson Anand Madhab told The Telegraph.

The Congress has scaled down from its initial demand for 15 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar. It had contested nine seats in 2019 general elections as part of the Mahagathbandhan alliance with the RJD and the Left parties.

However, the squabble over the Purnea constituency could hamper the seat distribution schedule. Former MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, who recently merged his Jan Adhikar Party (Loktantrik) into the Congress, is firm on entering the poll battle from there.

But the RJD has given the ticket for the seat to former minister Bima Bharti, who quit chief minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United (JDU) to join it. The logjam could be broken if Pappu is made to shift to Supaul or Madhepura seats, which he and his wife Ranjeet Ranjan have represented earlier.

A similar situation has developed with regard to the Aurangabad seat, once considered a bastion of the Congress, and its senior leader and former Kerala and Nagaland governor Nikhil Kumar had expressed his wish to contest from there. However, RJD chief Lalu Prasad has given its symbol to Abhay Kushwaha, who had quit the JDU recently.

Incidentally, the RJD has already distributed tickets to around 20 of the total 40 seats without any formal seat-sharing arrangement with the allies. This has peeved the INDIA partners.

Meanwhile, the CPIML had demanded eight Lok Sabha seats to contest, but the RJD is sparing just three — Bhojpur, Karakat and Nalanda — for it. Though the Left party has shown its willingness to adjust, it wants at least the Siwan seat, to contest from a total of four constituencies.

“Siwan is one of the priority seats for us. It has seen decades of struggle by our party and has witnessed the martyrdom of several of our leaders and workers, including former JNU Students Union leader Chandrashekhar. Allocating just three seats to us, given our strike rate in the 2020 Assembly elections, is too little. We had contested 19 Assembly constituencies and won 12 of them,” CPIML spokesperson Kumar Parvez told this newspaper.

Several senior leaders of the CPIML are also objecting to the Congress being given nine Lok Sabha seats when it has just 19 MLAs.

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