Congress president Sonia Gandhi is expected to broker peace between Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who are engaged in a slugfest over sharing of seats for the upcoming state assembly elections.
With the two Bihar satraps failing to arrive at an acceptable formula, they are understood to have sought Gandhi’s intervention to achieve the aim of firming up a “secular alliance” to stop the BJP from coming to power in the state.
The Janata Dal (United) insists on Kumar’s projection as the chief ministerial candidate of the proposed alliance, besides a share of 100 of the total 243 seats. The Congress, which has already endorsed Kumar as the CM candidate, will be contented with about 40 seats.
But the RJD is unwilling to concede that and wants 145 seats. Senior party leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has appealed to Gandhi to intervene and hammer out a solution.
“Given the high esteem that both Prasad and Kumar have for her, the Congress president can play a positive role in stitching together the alliance,” a senior JD(U) leader said.
“If the Congress president intervenes, it will be a welcome development. We are looking at complete unity among secular parties, including the Left,” said JD(U) spokesman KC Tyagi.
The RJD chief, set to arrive in New Delhi on Saturday, is expected to meet the Congress president next week. Prasad’s close aide and RJD MP Prem Chand Gupta refused to comment on the development.
Following Kumar’s meeting with the Congress president last month, a group of senior JD(U) leaders reportedly met Gandhi’s aide Ahmed Patel to discuss the seat-sharing formula for Bihar, sources said.