Lalu, Paswan seal seat-sharing deal
The Rashtriya Janata Dal and Lok Janashakti Party formally announced their tie-up on Monday for the Bihar polls. Lalu Prasad's RJD will contest 168 seats and Ramvilas Paswan's LJP, 75. Vikas Pathak reports.delhi Updated: Aug 17, 2010 00:18 IST
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) formally announced their tie-up on Monday for the Bihar polls. Lalu Prasad's RJD will contest 168 seats and Ramvilas Paswan's LJP, 75.
Speculation has been rife that the two parties may not reach an understanding — some said Paswan will go with the Congress — but Lalu today shared the dais with the LJP chief as well as Rajput leader Prabhunath Singh, who recently joined the RJD.
At the meet, Paswan said Lalu will be the chief ministerial candidate, while Paswan's brother Pashupati Kumar Paras is the deputy CM candidate.
The two, however, refused to disclose which constituencies would go to which party.
The alliance hopes to topple Bihar's JD(U)-BJP government under Nitish Kumar — which has earned admiration from many commentators for bringing "development" to the state — with the Yadav-Paswan tie-up alongside what they hope will be a chunk of upper caste and Muslim votes.
Lalu — who once enjoyed bulk of the Muslim vote — wants to ensure that neither Nitish, with his much-publicised spat with Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, nor the Congress cut into his traditional vote.
He emphasised that the RJD had been with the community all along, underlining the Hindutva terror charges on BJP and the non-implementation of the Ranganath Misra Commission report, which calls for reservation for Muslims, by the UPA.
"Both BJP and Congress are alike," he said, dubbing them as "anti-Muslim".
Paswan said the alliance would back 10 per cent quota for poor upper caste people. The
presence of Prabhunath Singh was again a symbolic appeal for upper caste votes.
Mounting an attack on the government, Lalu said the recent CAG report had brought to light the "corruption" under him in Bihar. He also warned that any elements working against the alliance candidates would be sacked indefinitely from the party.