Millennium Post

UPA scripting Bihar alliance… bags ex-NDA man Kushwaha

New Delhi: It seems the Congress is taking a lead over its arch rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), at least in bringing together its like-minded parties to give a final shape to the mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) — which was dubbed an 'illusion' by the BJP's brass.

A day after drawing the contours of the mahagathbandhan with like-minded parties in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress led the front of its natural allies of Bihar to make it public about the joining of RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha, who had quit the NDA a week ago, as a new member of Grand Alliance in the state.

With Kushwaha coming to the mahagathbandhan fold, the alliance partners are hopeful of winning a maximum number of Lok Sabha seats. Soon after Kushwaha's 'grand welcome' in the alliance, leaders of the key parties also hinted at the finalisation of a seat sharing formula in the state.

According to party insiders, the RJD would contest on the maximum number of seats followed by Congress, RLSP and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM). "The RJD may get 20 seats while Congress may settle with 10 seats, with the remaining 10 seats being shared between the RLSP, Sharad Yadav's party and HAM," the insider said.

"In case Ram Vilas Paswan joins us, then there would be some minor changes in the formula. Some Congress leaders may contest on an RJD ticket as was done during the state Assembly elections," the party insider said. Kushwaha joined the alliance in the presence of RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, Congress leaders Ahmed Patel and Shaktisinh Gohil, Sharad Yadav, and HAM leader Jitan Ram Manjhi.

Commenting on the development, Tejashwi Yadav said, "Today we are witnessing an undeclared emergency. This is a move to save the Constitution and it's a coalition of hearts of the masses as well as an alliance of people's agenda."

On the occasion, Kushwaha said, "We had said that we have many options and UPA was one of them. The wholeheartedness shown by Rahul Gandhi and Lalu Prasad Yadav is one of the reasons I joined… but the biggest reason I'm here is the people of Bihar."

Meanwhile, disgruntled LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan and his son Chirag Paswan met BJP president Amit Shah in New Delhi to finalise seat-sharing. Sources said that the meeting remained 'inconclusive'.

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