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RJD ready to fight fewer seats in Bihar to expand ’19 alliance

The Congress and the Hindustani Awam Morcha of former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi are the RJD’s current partners in Bihar. The RJD leaders cited above said the party has started talks with Loktantrik Janta Dal of Sharad Yadav, Communist Party of India, CPI (Marxist-Leninist), and some others regional parties to broaden the alliance.

india Updated: Nov 27, 2018 08:43 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
RJD,Lalu Prasad Yadav,alliance
Leaders from former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) are discussing a seat-sharing formula with potential allies.(HT File Photo)

Leaders from former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) are discussing a seat-sharing formula with potential allies that could bring nearly half-adozen parties together against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bihar ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha elections, according to two leaders familiar with the matter.

The Congress and the Hindustani Awam Morcha of former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi are the RJD’s current partners in Bihar. The RJD leaders cited above said the party has started talks with Loktantrik Janta Dal of Sharad Yadav, Communist Party of India, CPI (Marxist-Leninist), and some others regional parties to broaden the alliance.

“We are ready to take a cut in our share to accommodate more partners,” the first leader said on condition of anonymity. “We fielded candidates in 27 Lok Sabha seats (of 40) in 2014. We are ready to settle for about 20 seats if that makes room for valuable allies. The remaining 20 seats can go to our allies,” he added.

The second leader, who also asked not to be named, added: “We contested 27 seats and won four in 2014. We don’t mind contesting fewer seat if that ensures we win more this time. The aim is to build a formidable alliance.”

The RJD was in an alliance with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party in the 2014 parliamentary polls, and left 13 seats for these two parties. The lone NCP MP from the state, Tariq Anwar, joined the Congress last month. The leaders said the seat-sharing agreement under discussion at the moment proposes one seat each to Sharad Yadav, CPI, CPI (M-L) and Manjhi. The first leader said the RJD is also keeping its doors open for Union minister Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samta Party, currently with the BJP-led NDA. Kushwaha, who has openly hit out at allies – particularly CM Nitish Kumar and deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi – has given the BJP a November 30 deadline to finalise the seat-sharing formula for 2019.

A BJP leader said Kushwaha has been informally told that he may get two seats in the NDA alliance, down from three seats — an offer that Kushwaha is not happy with.

First Published: Nov 27, 2018 08:43 IST