Bihar gears up for elections.

Bihar gears up for elections.

Changing alliances set the tone for Bihar polls; Congress, RJD yet to decide seats

RLSP upset with seat-sharing; cracks within Grand Alliance in Bihar

Agency Report | Patna | 23 September, 2020 | 11:00 PM

Political parties in Bihar are busy chalking out strategies for the Assembly elections which are likely to be held in October-November this year though the Election Commission (EC) has not yet announced the poll dates.

In many cases, parties which were friends during the last elections will now be seen as opponents while foes in the last polls have joined hands.

In the last assembly elections, the BJP and the Janata Dal (United) fought against each other but in this election they are together in the NDA-fold.

The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) is likely to remain in the NDA this time as well but the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) which was with the NDA during the last elections has severed ties with it. Former Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha’s party RLSP is now part of the Opposition Grand Alliance (Mahagathbandhan) for the forthcoming election.

However, the RLSP and the Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) are said to be upset as the seat-sharing formula in the Grand Alliance has not yet been decided.

Former MP Pappu Yadav has also announced to contest this year’s election through the Jan Adhikar Party (Loktantrik). Yadav has not yet aligned with any opposition party.

The BJP is enthused with the JDU coming back to the NDA. The importance of the Bihar elections for the BJP can be gauged from the fact that its National President J.P. Nadda has already reached Patna and is busy reviewing preparations for the polls.

The Left which contested the last elections alone is likely to join the Grand Alliance this time. There have been several rounds of talks between the Left and the RJD on contesting the elections together.

RJD spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari said the Opposition grand alliance should expand its outreach. Negotiations were on with many other parties, he added. Asked about the resentment over the seat-sharing formula, he said candidates who could guarantee a win were being selected.

The BJP’s Bihar unit President Sanjay Jaiswal says the NDA has jumped into the poll fray with full force. The BJP-led NDA parties were contesting on the sole plank of development.

In the last Bihar assembly elections, the JDU, the RJD and the Congress had contested together under the Grand Alliance and formed the government with absolute majority. Later, however the JDU broke away from the alliance and formed the government in Bihar by joining hands with the BJP.

Even as most political parties are busy tweaking their campaign plans for this year’s assembly polls in Bihar, cracks within the Grand Alliance led by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) over seat-sharing are coming to the surface.

The Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), part of the Grand Alliance, is reportedly upset over seat distribution and has called a meeting of its members to discuss the issue on Thursday.

RLSP sources say that the RJD wants to give 10 or less seats to the party, whereas the party leadership is seeking as many as 35 seats.

RLSP chief and former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha has already met RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav in this regard.

Meanwhile, party general secretary Anand Madhav says it is a matter of concern that the biggest members of the alliance – the Congress and the RJD – are yet to arrive at an understanding over seat-sharing. This is sending out the wrong signal to the voters.

“We will discuss all these circumstances at the party’s national and state executive on Thursday. Our future course of action will be decided in the meeting.”

One must mention that the Hindustani Awam Morcha has already broken away from the Grand Alliance and gone into the NDA fold. The RLSP had joined the Grand Alliance ahead of the last Lok Sabha elections in 2019. (IANS)