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Congress to review its ‘winnability’ on 5 Bihar Lok Sabha seats

AICC secretary Virender Singh Rathore will visit five constituencies — Hajipur, Samastipur, Darbhanga, Motihari and Valmiki Nagar (West Champaran) — to ascertain the party’s prospect of wresting the seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

lok sabha elections Updated: Feb 25, 2019 13:58 IST
Subhash Pathak
Subhash Pathak
Hindustan Times, Patna
2019 lok sabha elections,LS polls,bihar LS seats
The Grand Alliance was formed in December 2018. AICC in-charge of Bihar, Shaktisinh Gohil has said that the talks over allocation of seats for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections might begin in the first or second week of March. (HT File Photo )

In the face of a stalemate over seat-sharing among Grand Alliance (GA) constituents, the Congress has deputed All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary Virender Singh Rathore to review the ‘winnability’ factor of its candidates in five of the 40 Lok Sabha (LS) constituencies in Bihar.

Rathore arrives in Patna on Monday on a five-day tour and will visit five constituencies — Hajipur, Samastipur, Darbhanga, Motihari and Valmiki Nagar (West Champaran) — to ascertain the party’s prospect of wresting the seats in the upcoming LS polls. During his stay, Rathore is set to meet local leaders and prominent citizen and check whether the party could win those seats under the alliance.

Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) spokesman Harkhu Jha said Rathore would return to Delhi on March 1 and submit his report to the AICC in-charge of Bihar, Shaktisinh Gohil, before the seat talks take off next month.

The delay in allocation of seats among the GA partners — comprising Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular (HAM-S), Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) and Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) — has already started causing unrest within the coalition. Peeved at the delay in allocation of ‘respectable’ seats to the HAM-S, former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi has sought at least four seats.

The Congress, which intends to contest not fewer than 15 seats, has sought a ‘respectable’ number of seats in conformity with its national stature. It had contested 12 LS seats in the last general elections.

Party insiders claimed that the Congress has strong possibility of winning in at least 14 LS seats, including Samstipur, Darbhanga, Motihari, Valmiki Nagar, Kishanganj, Supaul, Sasaram, Madhubani, Purnia, Aurangabad, Sheohar, Begusarai and Munger. “The party may also contest Hajipur, if the GA strategists deem it fit,” they claimed, adding that allocation of fewer than 14-15 seats might force the party to explore other options.

Gohil, however, exuded confidence that the allocation of seats would not be any make or break-like issue. “We are in touch with coalition leaders, and there is no confusion among them. Suitable decision would be taken at an appropriate time,” said Gohil, adding that the talks over allocation of seats might begin in the first or second week of March.

First Published: Feb 25, 2019 13:57 IST