Press Trust of india

Divergent views emerge from Grand Alliance top constituents in Bihar over seat-sharing

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Patna, Oct 27 : A day after the ruling NDA in Bihar stole a march by outlining its seat-sharing formula, divergent views emerged Saturday from opposition Grand Alliance two main constituents–RJD and Congress– about finalisation of their electoral understanding.

BPCC working president Kaukab Qadri said a seat sharing formula for the Alliance will be finalized by the high commands of both Congress and RJD and that the exercise was likely to take place only after the dust settles down on the assembly elections in the five states.

RJD MLA and spokesman Bhai Virendra, however, claimed that the Alliance  which also includes former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhis HAM and may have an electoral understanding with the Left  would come up with its seat-sharing formula by the end of November or the beginning of December.

I do not know on what basis the RJD leader is making such a claim. I can only say that any such decision by the Congress high command will be taken on the basis of recommendations of the state units election committee. Of course, the RJDs top leadership will also be taken into the loop, Qadri told PTI.

But the election committee is yet to be constituted. And any such exercise is unlikely before mid-December as the entire party machinery is busy with the crucial assembly polls in states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Telangana, he said.

Speculations have been rife that BJPs willingness to sacrifice a number of its sitting seats in Bihar and contest only as many seats as assigned to Chief Minister Nitish Kumars JD(U) could lead to the Congress demanding similar generosity from the RJD, an old but domineering ally.

The RJDs refusal to leave a decent amount of seats in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and the assembly elections held a year later had led to both parties fighting separately, resulting in a decimation of both and spectacular victories for NDA.

Qadri did not divulge how many seats the Congress was likely to press for but said the foremost criteria would be victory. We are not going to quibble over a small thing like the number of seats for respective parties.

He, however, dropped a veiled hint with the remark there is no doubt among the Grand Alliance constituents as to who is going to be the bigger player in the Lok Sabha polls. All are unanimous that the fight would be to ensure that Rahul Gandhi becomes the next Prime Minister. The rest is secondary.

Our party is growing stronger in Bihar which is evident from the return of a veteran leader like Tariq Anwar to the Congress, he pointed out.

To a query, he quipped we are not like the NDA. In our coalition, there is no big brother, little brother or stepbrother.

His remark was a dig at the often repeated assertion of JD(U) leaders that Nitish Kumar was the face of the NDA in Bihar and the party was the big brother in the coalition.

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