Restlessness growing over delay in seat sharing by Grand Alliance
Patna: More than two months after Bihar's ruling NDA finalised the sharing of seats among its constituents for the upcoming general elections, the opposition Grand Alliance or mahagathbandhan is yet to get its act together and the delay is leading to growing restlessness among the allies.
The bargaining between the two major allies -- the RJD and the Congress -- is what's causing the delay. This has left smaller allies like the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP), the Left parties and the Vikasshil Insan Party (VIP) uncertain about the number of seats they would be contesting.
A HAM leader said delay is not a good signal. "Our party has been demanding since January to finalise the list but it is yet to happen. We are hopeful it will be sooner rathr than later.
Echoing this, an RLSP leader said the seat sharing formula should not be delayed any further as its candidates have to get to work in their respective parliamentary constituencies.
The RLSP, led by former Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha, the HAM led by former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and the VIP are eyeing upwards of contesting more than 10 of the state's 40 seats. Kushwaha and Manjhi have demanded at least 5 seats each and the VIP has asked for 3.
Even the Left parties, mainly the CPI and the CPI-ML are keen to be part of the Grand Alliance.
Senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said on Wednesday said the seat sharing formula was in its final stage. "We have almost finalised and the formal announcement would be made soon," he said.
According to a Congress leader here, the party has agreed to contest a lesser number of seats than the RJD to accomodate the other allies and to ensure the defeat of the BJP-led NDA.
"It has been agreed that Congress will contest 10 seats and RJD will contest 20 seats. The remaining 10 seats will be distributed among other allies," the Congress leader said.
RJD leaders have repeatedly hinted that party is bound to play the "big brother" in the mahagathbandhan. They have pointed that the RJD is a mass-based party, has 80 legislators in the 430-member Asssembly and a strong social support base that will help the other allies in the polls.
The RJD had contested 27 seats, Congress 12 and one seat was left for Nationalist Congress Party's Tariq, Anwar who has now returned to the Congress, in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
The RJD could win only 4 seats, the Congress 2 and the NCP one. The Janata Dal-United, which contested separately, also won only two seats. The BJP-led NDA won 31 seats, with the BJP's tally being 22.