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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Grand Alliance seat allotment triggers discontent, rebellion

As per the seat adjustment deal, Maharajganj has gone to RJD’s share. The RJD is contesting 19, Congress (9), RLSP (5) and HAM (S) and VIP (3each). RJD has left one seat (Ara) from its quota of 20 for CPI-ML, which, in turn, will reciprocate by not fielding its nominee in Patliputra .

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 31, 2019 12:44 IST
Anil Kumar
Anil Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
grand alliance,mahagathbandhan,BJP
Rashtriya Janta Dal Leader Tejaswi Yadav , HAM (S) Chief Jitan Ram Majhi, VIP party chief Mukesh Shahni and others join hand during the Grand Alliance press conference ahead of Lok Sabha election 2019, in Patna,(Santosh Kumar/HT)

The seat allotment in the Grand Alliance has not only left many senior leaders fuming over what they term as a raw deal for their respective parties but also triggered a near revolt with some openly airing their intention to enter the fray as independent candidates.

Vice president of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi-led HAM (S) Mahachandra Prasad Singh was the first in the five-party Mahagathbandhan, to tender his resignation from the party post as a mark of protest for Manjhi’s failure to lap up Maharajganj Lok Sabha seat.

Though Singh has maintained to stick with the party, HAM (S) sources indicated that Singh has made up his mind to enter the electoral fray in Maharajganj as an independent candidate.

As per the seat adjustment deal, Maharajganj has gone to RJD’s share. The RJD is contesting 19, Congress (9), RLSP (5) and HAM (S) and VIP (3each). RJD has left one seat (Ara) from its quota of 20 for CPI-ML, which, in turn, will reciprocate by not fielding its nominee in Patliputra . RJD has decided to field party chief Lalu Prasad’s daughter and Rajya Sabha member Misa Bharti from Patliputra.

The list of Congress leaders, who have been left high and dry in the aftermath of the tricky seat settlement, is long. The latest to join the group is Lovely Anand, former MP and wife of strongman-turned-politician Anand Mohan, as the Sheohar seat she was eyeing has landed in RJD quota.

Anand, who joined Congress recently, has decided to turn a rebel and contest the seat. “The seat has been gifted to the alliance partner on considerations other than merit for accommodating an outsider. I will fight as an independent candidate,” she said airing her discontent.

Former union minister and AICC spokesperson Shakeel Ahmad, whose traditional Madhubani seat has gone to Mukesh Sahni-led VIP, has also reportedly made up his mind to contest on the prodding of his supporters. VIP is still to announce its candidate.

Sitting Darbhanga MP Kirti Azad is clueless about his fate as the seat has gone to RJD, which has already given its former state president Abdul Bari Siddiqui the nod to contest. Now, the Congress is considering options in Bihar, Jharkhand and Delhi (in event of a tie-up with AAP) to accommodate the former BJP candidate, who has been a bitter critic of finance minister Arun Jaitley.

The initial rumblings of dissent in the grand old party were evident as the news of Aurangabad seat landing in HAM (S) quota started to surface. Supporters of former Aurangabad MP Nikhil Kumar had created a ruckus at Congress Party headquarters Sadaquat Ashram against party’s failure to retain its traditional seat. Kumar is, however, not considering the option to rebel against the party.

RJD, which has managed to corner the largest seat share in the GA seat agreement, is also trying hard to deal with the banner of revolt raised by former union minister Ali Ashraf Fatmi. A four time MP from Darbhanga, Fatmi has termed his exclusion from the list of RJD nominee as an “insult to minorities”, even as he hinted that he was ready with nomination papers for both Darbhanga and Madhubani seats.

Even Tej Pratap Yadav, elder son of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, is adamant to have nominees of his choice on two seats--Jehanabad and Sheohar.

With the NDA having to contend with only two rebels, the GA’s boat seems to be rocked by many dissenters in their ranks. And with the GA) still to announce the names of eight more candidates partners (RLSP-3, Congress-2, RJD and VIP one each) the list of rebels may swell, giving it an additional work to set their house in order ahead of the crucial polls.

CPI-ML is contesting Siwan, Karakat and Jehanabad and has decided to extend support to CPI in Begusarai and CPM in Ujiarpur.

First Published: Mar 31, 2019 12:44 IST