Dinner with Tejashwi, tea with Manjhi, Cong sues for peace in GAUpdated: Jul 09, 2020 21:05 IST
PATNA: The food was plain and simple and the talks too were straightforward.
The ongoing rumblings in Grand Alliance (GA) in Bihar with regard to seat sharing and other related issues brought the two main parties of the alliance, the RJD and the Congress, on the dinner table on Wednesday night, but it failed to break much ice.
The Congress team comprised AICC in-charge for Bihar, Shaktisinh Gohil, BPCC president Madan Mohan Jha, Rajya Sabha MP Akhilesh Prasad Singh and Congress Legislature party leader Sadanand Singh while RJD was represented by leader of opposition in Bihar assembly Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and former CM Rabri Devi.
The “dinner diplomacy”, which continued well past 10 pm on Wednesday, veered around talks related to seat-sharing and role of smaller parties in the alliance.
Sources in the Congress said that though the talks were held in cordial atmosphere, the RJD has been communicated that the oldest party of India would “not accept anything less than an honourable settlement.”
“We are not prepared to be meted out with old treatment,” said a Congress leader, wishing not to be quoted.
A senior Congress leader said that party wanted to contest at least two seats every district, which puts the total seats to 76. “The JD(U) had contested on 100 seats when it was part of the Grand Alliance, so we would definitely like to get a majority share of its seats, plus would like to retain our winning seats,” said a party leader.
The Congress had contested on 41 seats in 2015 and won 21, with a vote share of 6.7%, while the RJD had contested on 101 seats and won 80 seats with a vote share of 16.8%.
The Congress delegation also tried to convince the RJD leaders to “respect and take along other alliance partners together.”
Congress leaders, in a bid to prevent desertion from alliance, also held a meeting with HAM-S president Jitan Ram Manjhi on Thursday evening and tried to convince him not to take “any drastic step.”
Sources said Manjhi was informed by the Congress leaders about the concerns of smaller parties to the RJD, which has assured to look into their grievances. If sources are to be believed, Manjhi also told the Congress about the “immature” behaviour of leader of opposition. The meeting with Manjhi lasted more than an hour.
Manjhi’s party, which contested the Lok Sabha elections as part of the Grand Alliance, had demanded a discussion on the forthcoming polls on issues of seat adjustment, candidates, etc. It had also demanded immediate need for a co-ordination committee in the GA by June 25.
Senior BJP leader and deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi took a dig over internal rumblings in GA. “The number one party of GA (RJD) has rejected demands of co-ordination committee, and has even ignored senior Dalit leader’s ultimatum. The number two party has virtually become spineless, while other parties are like slaves,” said Modi.