Opposition seals seat-sharing pact in Bihar; CPI, CPM left out in the cold

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 22, 2019

Kanhaiya Kumar’s candidature from Begusarai doubtful

After days of deliberations, the Opposition in Bihar announced its seat-sharing formula in Patna on Friday. The major party in the alliance, RJD, has accommodated almost all Opposition forces except the two Left parties — the CPI and the CPI(M) — in the alliance.

In Begusarai, a stronghold of the CPI, the name of former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar was circulating as the alliance’s candidate. The CPI (ML-Liberation), however, has been given one seat from the RJD’s kitty of 20 seats. Senior leader Sharad Yadav’s Loktantrik Janata Dal will merge with the RJD ahead of the polls and he will contest as an RJD candidate, most likely from Madhepura.

RJD MP Manoj Jha and Bihar unit president Ram Chandra Purve told reporters in Patna that out of the 40 Lok Sabha seats, the Congress will get nine seats, the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) of Upendra Kushwaha five seats, and the Vikasheel Insan Party (VIP) and former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM) three seats each.

Sources in the alliance told BusinessLine that the seats were allocated purely based on caste arithmetic.

The RJD believes that by placating the Kushwahas, Maha Dalits and the fishermen community in the State, it can capture majority of the seats from the ruling NDA. The parties, however, have not decided on the allocation of seats.

Kumar Vs Tejaswi Yadav

In the first phase, four constituencies in the State are going to polls. In Jamui, the RLSP will field the alliance’s candidate. In Aurangabad and Gaya, the JAM will contest. The RJD will fight from Nawada. Former Delhi Police Commissioner and former Congress MP from Aurangabad, Nikhil Kumar, has been denied a ticket and the seat has gone to JAM. The RJD has refused to accommodate both the CPI and the CPI(M) despite the initiatives taken by both the parties to bring the Opposition together in Bihar. While the CPI(M) has decided to contest from the Ujiarpur constituency, the CPI said it will take a final decision after holding consultations with the CPI(M) and other Left parties.

The Congress was earlier ready to give a seat from its share to the CPI if the RJD had provided it more than 10 seats. However, the Congress has got only nine seats. “The Congress is not willing to provide us a seat from its share. We will have to find our own way,” a senior CPI leader said.

Another Left leader said that RJD’s decision not to give a ticket to CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar was driven by the fear that the young leader will be a threat to Lalu’sson and Opposition leader in the Assembly, Tejaswi Yadav.

“Kumar is a far better orator and popular among the public. Lalu has all reasons to worry about grooming a young leader in the State,” the senior Left leader said.

Published on March 22, 2019

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