RJD Gets Its Way as Congress Settles for 9 Seats in Bihar Mahagathbandhan

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New Delhi: With less than a month to go for the first phase of polling in Bihar for Lok Sabha elections, the RJD-Congress alliance released its seat-sharing plan and list of candidates in the state.

While the RJD will be contesting on 20 seats, the Congress will field candidates for nine seats.

Recent entrants to the ‘Grand Alliance’ – Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) and Mukesh Sahni’s Vikassheel Insan Party (VIP) will field their candidates in five and three seats, respectively. Former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM) has been given three seats.

Former JD(U) president and NDA convener Sharad Yadav will contest on the RJD symbol and merge his party Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) with it after the Lok Sabha polls, RJD national spokesman Manoj Jha and RJD state president Ram Chandra Purve told newsmen.
The RJD leaders made the announcement in the presence of representatives from all alliance partners, including Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee president Madan Mohan Jha.

Top leaders like Tejashwi Yadav (RJD), Kushwaha (RLSP), Sharad Yadav and Manjhi were conspicuous by their absence though.

The RJD, which wanted to contest 20, had to part with one seat from its quota to the CPI(ML) Liberation, while the Congress, which had initially bargained hard for 15 seats and later 11 seats, had to settle for nine with the assurance of a Rajya Sabha berth.

The biggest gainer was, surprisingly, the fledgling Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP), which was floated by former Bollywood set designer Mukesh Sahani less than six months ago. It got three seats to contest from which is equal to that of the HAM.

Contrary to expectations, Kanhaiya Kumar, who was hopeful of a ticket from Begusarai, has not found a place. However, the RJD has given one seat to CPI(ML) from its own share of seats.

According to reports, the Congress was keen to bring the Left parties on board the Mahagathbandhan but the RJD was averse to it.

Interestingly, the Congress-Left Front pact in neighbouring West Bengal fell apart with both sides announcing candidates for contentious seats.

On the other hand, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners in Bihar have announced their seat distribution plan. With a total of 40 Lok Sabha seats, Bihar is key state for both the NDA and the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

In 2014, BJP had won 22 seats in the state. This was followed by LJP’s six. JD (U), which had then fought the polls separately, had managed to win just two seats. The RJD had won four seats followed by the RLSP and Congress’s three and two seats, respectively. Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had won one seat.

In 2014 general elections, the Congress bagged 8.56 percent seats with RJD getting 20.46 percent votes. The BJP and JD(U) on the other hand got 52.4 percent votes.



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