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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Lok Sabha elections 2019: Jharkhand tug-of-war may leadto RJD-Cong face-off in Bihar, too

The clamour for fighting more than nine seats pervaded the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) headquarter on Wednesday, when hundreds of party workers from Nalanda staged a dharna and sought to put up a candidate in the constituency.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 28, 2019 05:38 IST
Congress workers from Nalanda stage a protest demanding that their candidate be fielded from that seat, which has been given to HAM(S) under the alliance, in Patna on Wednesday.
Congress workers from Nalanda stage a protest demanding that their candidate be fielded from that seat, which has been given to HAM(S) under the alliance, in Patna on Wednesday.(Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)
         

The Rashtriya Janata Dal’s move to field its candidate from Chatra in Jharkhand may have its ripples in the Bihar Grand Alliance. Seeing that RJD wants more than the one seat, Palamu, given to it under the Jharkhand Grand Alliance, the Congress appears to be thinking of contesting more than the nine seats it has been given in Bihar under a similar alliance.

Stung by the rebellion in the Jharkhand unit, RJD has decided to field a noted sand trader of Patna, Subhash Yadav, from the Chatra Lok Sabha seat in Jharkhand, which has been allotted to the Congress under the mutually agreed upon seat-sharing deal among the Grand Alliance constituents: the Congress, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), and RJD.

“If RJD opts to dishonour the coalition dharma in Jharkhand, the Congress might also be compelled to weigh the possibility of fielding its candidates on potentially winnable seats that have been allotted to RJD and other partners [in Bihar] as per the understanding within GA,” said a Congress MLA in Bihar, unwilling to be quoted.

The clamour for fighting more than nine seats pervaded the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) headquarter on Wednesday, when hundreds of party workers from Nalanda staged a dharna and sought to put up a candidate in the constituency. Nalanda is said to be allotted to the Jitan Ram Manjhi-led party Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular (HAM-S), which, according to the protesting Congress leaders, had no organisational base in that constituency. Party leaders wanted to field the district Congress committee chief Dilip Kumar, who has been nurturing the constituency for the past several months.

Tussle over seats

Darbhanga: Congress leaders also said that a confrontation between RJD and the Congress was imminent on the Darbhanga seat. Senior RJD leader and former minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui has already announced his decision to contest from there. However, the Congress is totally unwilling to lose the seat or exchange it, as Mithilanchal still happens to be its bastion, and the party wants to field at least one Brahmin candidate in the Lok Sabha polls.

Karakat: Working president of the Bihar Congress, Kaukab Quadri, has staked his claim as a candidate on the Karakat Lok Sabha seat in Rohtas. However, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party chief Upendra Kushwaha is also set to file his nomination from Karakat as a GA nominee.

Sheohar: Expecting a face-off between RJD and the Congress over a few more seats, senior Congress leaders such as Lovely Anand and Riga MLA Amit Kumar Tunna have declared their intention to contest from the Sheohar seat, where RJD is also looking to field its nominee.

Hard stand

“Everything will be clear in a couple of days when the screening committee of the All-India Congress Committee meets to finalise the candidates for the rest of the seats. The Congress may take a hard stand, if the alliance partners choose to disregard the Congress’ aspirations,” said Tunna. BPCC chief Madan Mohan Jha also said that everything would be settled once the AICC announced seat-wise candidates in the next couple of days.

Meanwhile, RJD’s insistence on fielding its candidate from the Chatra seat has annoyed the Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee (JPCC) leaders. Alok Dubey, spokesman of JPCC, hoped that RJD would finally agree to the seat-sharing pact in Jharkhand, so that GA could wrest all 14 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

First Published: Mar 27, 2019 23:53 IST