Dinner with Tejashwi, tea with Manjhi, Cong sues for peace in GA as Bihar assembly polls draw near
Congress is bidding for a higher share of seats for Bihar polls than was alloted to the party in the last elections.Updated: Jul 09, 2020 21:56 IST
The ongoing rumblings in Grand Alliance (GA) in Bihar with regard to seat sharing for the impending Assembly polls and other related issues, brought the two main alliance partners, 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 the RJD was represented by leader of opposition in Bihar assembly Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and former CM Rabri Devi.
The food served during the dinner diplomacy was plain and simple and the talks, which continued well past 10 pm on Wednesday, were straightforward, concentrating mainly on issues of seat-sharing and the role of smaller parties in the alliance, said leaders privy to the discussions on condition of anonymity.
Leaders in the Congress said that though the talks were held in a cordial atmosphere, the RJD was told that the oldest political party of India would “not accept anything less than an honourable settlement.”
“We are not prepared to be meted out with the old treatment,” said a Congress leader, wishing not to be quoted.
Another senior Congress leader said that the party wanted to contest at least two seats in every district, which translates to 76 seats in the 243 member state assembly.
“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.”
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 that the concerns of smaller parties have been conveyed to the RJD, which they said, has assured to look into their grievances.
Manjhi is said to have raised concerns about alleged “immature” behaviour of the leader of the 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 issues of seat adjustment, candidates etc for the forthcoming Assembly polls. It had also set up a deadline for constitution of a co-ordination committee to manage the affairs of GA by June 25. The deadline came and went without any favourable outcome for Manjhi’s party.
Senior BJP leader and deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi took a dig at the internal rumblings in GA. “The number one party of GA (RJD) has rejected the demands for a 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