The cracks have started to appear in the proposed grand alliance of Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in Bihar, as RJD leaders have expressed their resentment over the reports of induction of some ‘tainted leaders’ into Congress, reported Hindustan Times.
Reportedly, many leaders in RJD are not pleased about the induction of Pappu Yadav, Lovely Anand and Anant Singh into Congress.
RJD has reportedly expressed its reservations about Anant Singh being a part of the grand alliance as both sons of Lalu Yadav, Tejashwi and Tej Pratap were apprehensive about it. Anant Singh is known for his strong-arm politics and is accused in several criminal cases.
The friction between the Congress and RJD appears to be widening as RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav has been reportedly working on an “alternative plan” to form an UP-styled alliance to keep Congress party out of the alliance if they do not agree for any seat-sharing formula.
While Congress is seeking to demand 16 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar and indicating that it would settle for no less than 12 seats, the RJD has been carefully planning to work out on a formula to join hands with smaller parties in the state and looking for options so they may keep the Congress out of the alliance. RJD has offered seven to eight seats to Congress because it has been also trying to accommodate the Left parties.
Reportedly, the RJD is not committed to offering more seats to the Congress party, instead may offer some reserved seats such as Gopalganj to RLSP and other parties. There has been speculation about RJD offering Gopalganj seat bordering UP to the BSP if the Congress does not scale down its demand of “at least 12 seats”.
“Just because Congress’ political stock has gone up a bit after its win in three states, it does not mean it can improve its Lok Sabha tally (two seats) in Bihar. It should put forward a realistic demand,” said an RJD leader quoted by the Indian Express.
The RJD has reportedly asked RLSP and Mukesh Sahni’s Vikasshil Insan Party whether they will be still within the front if there is a ‘Grand Alliance’ without Congress. “Upendra Kushwaha has been trying to break the ice between RJD and Congress… It is good that Congress has not issued any terse statement after Tejashwi’s meeting with Akhilesh and Mayawati,” said an RLSP leader.
Most of the regional parties, who are facing existential crisis against the Narendra Modi led BJP has been uniting together to fight against the BJP in the upcoming general elections. Interestingly, the Congress party led by Rahul Gandhi seems to be unattractive to most of the regional parties like SP, BSP in Uttar Pradesh, TMC in West Bengal, RJD in Bihar etc.
Recently, the Samajwadi party led by Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati led Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) came together as a ‘Mahagathbandhan’ in Uttar Pradesh to take on the BJP. Interestingly, with old foes coming together to fight the incumbent in the state, the SP-BSP alliance completely rejected any alliance with the Rahul Gandhi led Congress. Rejected by the SP-BSP alliance, Congress had announced that the party will be contesting all 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress party is also fighting for its relevance as most of the regional parties have been deliberately keeping Congress party at bay. The ‘United India’ rally by Opposition parties held at Kolkata organized by the Trinamool Congress indicated that the regional parties will assert more hegemony than the Rahul Gandhi led Congress, leaving the grand old party to settle for the third choice among the voters.