Wary of RJD’s apathy, Congress plans to fight all seats in Bihar council polls
PATNA: Wary of the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD) reluctance to give a respectable share of seats, the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) is gearing up to field its candidates on all 24 local bodies seats of the state legislative council, the elections to which is scheduled to be held in February-March this year.
“We have discussed and prepared the panel of candidates for 12 constituencies in our meeting with Bihar party in-charge Bhakta Charan Das in New Delhi on Saturday. However, the final decision, whether to stay in the alliance with the RJD or go it alone in the upcoming elections, rests on the party high command,” said BPCC chief Madan Mohan Jha.
Jha and BPCC campaign committee chairman Akhilesh Prasad Singh initiated the party’s plan to take a plunge into the council polls with Das after the RJD unilaterally decided to field its nominees on 20 out of 24 seats, leaving only four seats for the Congress.
Apparently sulking after a humiliating defeat of the party’s candidates in recently held by-elections for Tarapur and Kusheshswar Asthan assembly seats, the Bihar Congress is anxious to resume its ties with the RJD. The coalition between the RJD and the Congress went for a toss after the former rejected the seat-sharing claim and fielded its candidates on both the seats. However, the RJD too faced the defeat.
Soon after the declaration of results of the assembly by-elections, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav announced that the RJD’s alliance with the Congress will remain and the party will be offered seven-eight seats in the council to contest. Worried about the RJD’s plan for the upcoming elections, Akhilesh Prasad Singh, who is also a Rajya Sabha member, met Lalu Prasad in Delhi on January 18 to know his mind.
Senior Congress leaders said that the RJD chief asked them to wait till January 28 to formalise the seat-sharing deal on return of opposition leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav from abroad. “Unlike the assembly by-elections, we are well prepared to meet any eventuality. We are not willing to accept anything which is unreasonable and hence unacceptable,” said Congress legislature party leader Ajit Sharma.
Senior party leader Kishore Kumar Jha said the party high command must rethink the plan to tie up with the RJD, which always pursued opportunistic politics and thereby demoralised the Congress workers. “Organisational presence of the Congress has been wiped out from a majority of areas, including Mithilanchal, after the party started depending on the alliance with the RJD. Some of the key leaders of Bihar Congress are desperate to team up with the RJD as their kin are preparing to contest the council elections,” said Jha.
Former BPCC vice president and MLC Ajay Kumar Singh said that the party had strong winning prospects in the constituencies of Bettiah, Darbhanga, Rohtas & Kaimur, Katihar, Begusarai, Jamui, Saharsa, Purnia and Nawada, owing to strong presence of dedicated party workers. Last time, Congress fielded its candidates on four seats, including Bettiah, Purnia and Saharsa and spared Katihar for the NCP. RJD and the Janata Dal (United), which was then part of the Grand Alliance (GA), were offered ten seats each.