Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has offered to revise his pullout decision from the Janata Parivar’s 'Mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance) if his party is offered an additional 10 seats in the upcoming Bihar elections after reduction in the Congress share from 40 to 30 seats, sources said.
In a move aimed at extracting a larger share of the Bihar pie and strengthening Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad’s position within the alliance, the SP chief is understood to have offered this formula at a meeting with the RJD leader in New Delhi.
A phase of hard bargaining on seat distribution has evidently re-opened among the alliance partners for Bihar’s 243 assembly seats.
Initially, Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) and Prasad’s RJD decided to contest 100 seats each, leaving 40 for the Congress and 3 for Sharad Pawar’s NCP. After the NCP rejected the offer, the three vacant seats were offered to the SP, while Prasad offered two more seats from his quota.
"Mulayam’s stance is not so much about seats as it is about political symbolism," political observers said, while hinting that his latest formula was aimed at attacking the emerging axis between Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) and the Congress.
Dashing to the capital to mollify Mulayam after his pullout decision, Prasad is understood to have reasoned with the SP leader that his stance did not reflect ground realities.
The SP’s performance in Bihar in past elections has been worse than that of Mayawati’s BSP as well.