CPI-ML (liberation) snubs RJD amid seat sharing deadlock, releases list of 30 seats
With seat sharing arrangement in the RJD- led grand alliance (GA) in Bihar still elusive, one prospective left ally, Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) ( Liberation) on Wednesday released a list of 30 seats asserting it cannot wait for ‘eternity’ for RJD to stitch a poll understanding.
The party’s move is seen as a snub to the RJD for denying it 20 seats including those seats in districts where the party has its traditional strongholds like Jehanabad, Siwan, Bhojpur and Aurangabad. The ML has three MLAs in the outgoing assembly.
“We had initially asked for 53 seats but made a climbdown to 20 seats for the sake of unity among secular forces to defeat the NDA. But the RJD is not giving us seats of our choice and neither any commitment on the number of seats we have negotiated for. So, we have released our first list of seats where ML candidates will contest as nominations for the first phase will start from Thursday,” said Kunal, ML state general secretary.
However, the ML state secretary was evasive when asked categorically whether the release of the list of 30 seats by the party could be construed as a step towards not having seat adjustment in the grand alliance.
“No, we haven’t said we are not in favour of an alliance with the RJD even now. What we want is that RJD should come up with a positive plan for seat adjustment at the earliest by re-thinking on our demands. If it happens, we will stitch a deal,” said Kunal
But sources said a patch up between the two parties who have long been rivals in Siwan and central Bihar during RJD’s 15 year rule is quite unlikely as ML is known for bargaining hard and would not stitch an alliance by giving up its claim on its favourite seats like Jagdishpur, Sandesh, Ara (all in Bhojpur), Obra (Aurangabad) and other few seats in Siwan.
One ML leader, wishing not to be named, explained the party is annoyed with RJD for the latter’s bid to deny it a single seat in Patna district and even not agreeing to share seats where ML has been consistently performing well in past elections.
“The RJD is not offering us even a single seat in Patna district though ML has a strong base in Paliganj and Masaurhi. Even Obra in Aurangabad, which is our traditional seat, is contentious. So, how can we strike a deal?” the ML leader said.
Meanwhile, the RJD top brass is said to be waiting for the Congress top leadership to take a call on the offer given to the grand old party to contest 60 seats. Sources said state Congress leaders called to New Delhi by party’s high command have held several rounds of meetings with senior leaders and a final call would be taken in the next couple of days.
“The situation is still fluid on seat sharing talks and it may take a couple of days for the arrangement to be worked out,” said a senior state Congress leader who did not wish to be named.
On the other hand, the CPI and CPI (M), the two other left parties hoping to be part of the GA in coming polls, are confident that a seat sharing deal would be worked out soon in the GA.
“We want an alliance with the RJD-led combine and things are positive. We hope CPI will get more than 10 in seat arrangement,” said state CPI secretary, Ram Naresh Pandey.