A total of 29 seats have been allocated to three Left parties — CPI-ML (19), CPI (6), CPM (4) — to contest in the upcoming polls
Patna: The opposition Grand Alliance in Bihar sought to steal a march over the ruling NDA on Saturday when it announced its seat-sharing formula as part of which the RJD, spearheading the coalition, will contest on 144 seats.
The coalition members also endorsed RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav as its face though a minor constituent of the multi-party formation announced a sudden exit alleging betrayal.
At a press conference in Patna, Yadav announced the number of seats assigned to the Congress, the CPI(ML), the CPI(M), and the CPI and disclosed that his party was getting the lions to share of 144 seats.
Among other allies, Congress has been given 70 seats, far more than it had contested in the 2015 assembly polls in alliance with the RJD and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U).
The Congress will also be fielding its candidate in Valmiki Nagar Lok Sabha seat where by-poll will be held on 7 November.
Among the Left parties, the CPI(ML) has been given 19 seats, followed by CPI (six) and four seats to CPI(M). Lalu Prasad’s party will be accommodating ally in adjoining Jharkhand the JMM and Vikashheel Insaan Party (VIP), its coalition partner since the Lok Sabha polls last year, from its own quota of constituencies. Bihar has a 243-member Assembly.
The RJD had won 81 seats in 2015 while Congress had bagged 27 seats. Yadav told media persons that the party will declare in another two to three days the seats it will be giving to the two parties from its quota.
Former Bollywood set designer Mukesh Sahni, popularly known by the sobriquet “Son of Mallah”, fumed after other leaders had left the venue “we have been stabbed in the back”.
“It is hereby announced that my Vikassheel Insaan Party will not be a part of an alliance wherein the trust reposed by us has been betrayed and we have not been accorded due respect”.
Earlier, it was reported in the media that the VIP party, which claims support among the fishermen community, will be getting around half-a-dozen seats.
VIP sources later said the party may now explore “other options” like the front floated by Jan Adhikar Party chief Pappu Yadav along with Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan’s Bhim Army.
It is also speculated that RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha, who recently quit the Grand Alliance and joined hands with the BSP, may arrive at an understanding with Pappu Yadav’s front to queer the pitch for the main players in the Bihar assembly polls.
Prior to the dramatic turn of events, which was marked by VIP supporters venting their ire by vandalising flower vases and raising slogans against the RJD, leaders of the grand alliance which were supposed to have six constituents sought to present a picture of mutual trust and amity.
Congress leader Avinash Pandey, while backing Tejashwi Yadav as the Chief Ministerial candidate, showered praises on the former Deputy CM for having taken on Narendra Modi-led BJP at a tender age in the assembly polls held five years ago.
The grand old party has been assuaged with an offer of 70 seats, many more than 41 it had got five years ago. Pandey also remarked, “our respectable Chief Minister Nitish Kumar too was with us.
But then the apharan (hijacking) of popular mandate took place and he ended up siding with those whom he had fought against in the polls.
The JD(U) chief had made an abrupt exit from the Grand Alliance in 2017 which had followed Yadav’s name cropping up in a money laundering case.
Kumar is seeking a fourth consecutive term in the upcoming elections, having been backed by the BJPs top brass for leading the NDA at the hustings.
He is, however, faced with a roadblock in form of rebellion from LJP chief Chirag Paswan. The piquant situation has also prevented the NDA from coming out with its own seat-sharing formula, though less than a week is left before the filing of nominations for the first of the three phases of elections comes to a close.
In his speech, Yadav took potshots at Kumar saying “I am a theth (pure) Bihari, who knows how to keep his promises. And my DNA too is pure”.
The “DNA” remark was an oblique reference to an infamous jibe at Kumar by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the 2015 Bihar polls while the two were involved in a bitter political rivalry.
Kumar had taken affront to the remark, holding it as an insult to all residents of Bihar, and rallied RJD and Congress along in launching a counter-offensive.
Yadav also repeated his promise of providing 10 lakh government jobs to youths if the Grand Alliance was voted to power. “I repeat, sanction for starting the process will be given at the first cabinet meeting”, he said.
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