Grand alliance clinches seat deal; Muslims, Yadavs dominate | india | Hindustan Times
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Grand alliance clinches seat deal; Muslims, Yadavs dominate

After days of hectic parleys, the grand alliance of the RJD, JD(U) and the Congress has finally reached a seat sharing deal for all 243 assembly constituencies with the RJD and the JD(U) swapping a dozen seats, including Raghopur and Mahua — two constituencies where RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s sons will contest. A formal announcement is likely to be made on Saturday.

india Updated: Sep 20, 2015 01:30 IST
Anirban Guha Roy
Lalu Prasad (left) and Nitish Kumar are alliance partners in the upcoming Bihar elections.
Lalu Prasad (left) and Nitish Kumar are alliance partners in the upcoming Bihar elections. (HT File Photo)

After days of hectic parleys, the grand alliance of the RJD, JD(U) and the Congress has finally reached a seat sharing deal for all 243 assembly constituencies with the RJD and the JD(U) swapping a dozen seats, including Raghopur and Mahua — two constituencies where RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s sons will contest. A formal announcement is likely to be made on Saturday.

The alliance has selected candidates banking heavily on its vote base among backward classes (OBCs and EBCs). Around 55-60 candidates are from Yadav community and 30 are Muslims, signalling that the RJD chief has made no compromise on his vote arithmetic based on ‘M-Y’ combination.

The RJD and the JD(U) are contesting 100 seats each, whereas 40 seats have gone to the Congress. In rest three seats, there are chances of the JMM — a new entrant in the alliance — getting tickets.

“The seat identification process is all complete. There have been some adjustments on a few seats,” said a senior alliance leader, wishing not to be quoted.

Kin of top politicians given ticket by the alliance include former minister Shivanand Tiwary’s son Mantu Tiwary from Shahpur, former RJD MP Prabhunath Singh’s son Randhir Singh (sitting MLA) from Chapra, Vijay Prakash (younger brother of RJD MP Jay Prakash Yadav) and also Hina Shahab, wife of incarcerated former RJD MP Mohammed Shahabuddin, from Siwan.

Former Union minister Akhilesh Singh is also keen to contest from Bikarm or Arwal but a decision has not been taken, sources said. “It will be decided by late night or tomorrow,” a sources said, adding that 30 of Congress’ 40 allotted seats had been cleared.

The Congress has got most of the seats in Chamaparan, Seemanchal and central Bihar with possibilities that the RJD and the JD(U) will be fielding their own candidates on Congress ticket from 10 seats. Earlier in the day, Congress state president Ashok Choudhary said Congress would have its own candidates on all 40 seats, except some adjustment for one or two seats.

Reliable sources said the alliance had gone with the ‘sitting seat’ formula and caste composition of constituencies. There has been barter with the RJD managing to get good number of seats in Yadav-Muslim dominated Kosi, Seemanchal and north Bihar districts even as the JD(U) has got sitting seats in central and south Bihar, where EBCs and Dalits have a stronghold. In Kosi region, both the RJD and the JD(U) reached an understanding over areas where they have better chances of winning.

“Swapping of seats has been done to enhance the winning chances of each candidate. The RJD has got over a dozen sitting seats of the JD(U) in the swap. There could be some more adjustments,” said a senior RJD leader.

In Shahabad region, the RJD has got only 11 seats out of 22, including Jehanabad while giving up claim on its traditional stronghold seats like Rampur, Mohania and Buxar. “Most of the JD(U)’s sitting seats in Shahabad had been kept by the ruling party, said another senior alliance leader. In Patna district, the RJD landed five seats, including Danapur, Digha and Masaurhi.

RJD’s insistence for a good number of sitting seats of the JD(U) in Kosi is said to have miffed JD(U) president Sharad Yadav, reason why he left for New Delhi mid-way of seat talks. Sources said both the RJD and the JD(U) had denied tickets to several sitting MLAs, which had angered a large number of ticket aspirants.

Dinesh Kumar Singh alias Bhai Dinesh has started a dharna at the RJD office, claiming it was “wrong to deny him a ticket”, while there were reports that Daud Ali, a sitting MLA from Dumraon, has also been denied a ticket. The seat is likely to be contested by Dadan Pahelwan, a former minister in the Rabri government, who joined the JD(U) on Friday.