Congress-RJD alliance on verge of collapse | india | Hindustan Times
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Congress-RJD alliance on verge of collapse

One of the worst-kept secrets about the Bihar elections is now finally out in the open: The Congress-RJD alliance for 40 seats in this politically sensitive state has visibly collapsed on the ground.

india Updated: Apr 06, 2014 01:21 IST
Srinand Jha

One of the worst-kept secrets about the Bihar elections is now finally out in the open: The Congress-RJD alliance for 40 seats in this politically sensitive state has visibly collapsed on the ground — reopening critical questions about the way in which Muslim votes will now swing.

Changing horses midstream is never a good option but the breaking up of what was an uneasy alliance to begin with, has virtually been announced in the midst of heat and dust of electioneering, with both parties having decided to go it alone in the bypolls for five assembly seats that have been declared in conjunction with the parliamentary elections.

Two of these bypolls will be held within the Muslim-dominated parliamentary constituency of Kishanganj. Such a situation can certainly causes confusion in the minds of party cadres and voters, particularly in the Muslim-dominated constituencies of Araria, Kishanganj, Madhepura and Supoul.

The troubled alliance had been headed for a collapse. At Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s April 1 rally at Aurangabad, RJD leaders were conspicuous by their absence. Senior state Congress leaders, including former state unit presidents Ram Rattan Sinha and Anil Sharma have stayed away from Prasad’s election rallies across the state. Protesting against the moves to stitch up the alliance with the RJD, the entire Madhubani unit of the Congress had earlier threatened to resign in protest.

Senior state Congress leader Kishore Kumar Jha told HT: “The Congress had fought the last two elections — the 2009 parliamentary polls and the 2010 assembly elections — on its own and gained in strength. Going it alone would certainly have been a better option for the party this time as well, as a tie-up with the RJD has dampened the enthusiasm of party workers.”

State Congress chief Ashok Chaudhary — considered a strong votary of the RJD alliance — suffered a setback of sorts lately when the party high command replaced candidates suggested by him for the Patna Sahib and three other parliamentary constituencies. As CP Joshi — the Congress general secretary in charge of party affairs in the state – is busy with his own election, the AICC has nominated senior party leader Satyavrata Chaturvedi to look after Bihar matters relating to the elections.

Is the Congress high command veering around to the late realisation that stitching up an alliance with the RJD was not quite the right route to take?

Such questions are anyway being debated intensely at the state Congress headquarters in Patna.

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