Bihar mahagatbandhan on verge of collapse?

Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Manoj Jha, state's party President Ramchandra Purbey and Congress' state president Madan Mohan Jha join hands after announcing the grand alliance's candidates list for upcoming Lok Sabha election 2019, in Patna on March 22, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Is the Mahagatbandhan in Bihar beginning to crumble even before the Lok Sabha battle could begin in right earnest? The political developments, laced with the internecine war among its constituents, in the last few days provide the clearest evidence of an imminent collapse of the Grand Alliance.

Sample this: After denying ticket to retired IPS-turned-former Congress MP Nikhil Kumar from Aurangabad, the RJD has denied ticket to Darbhanga MP Kirti Azad. It has fielded senior RJD leader and former Finance minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui from Darbhanga.

The cricketer-turned-parliamentarian Kirti, who dumped the BJP and joined Congress recently was all set to contest 2019 Lok Sabha elections as the grand old party nominee from the Brahmin-dominated constituency Darbhanga which sent him to Parliament thrice since 1999. Efforts were also made to deny ticket to Congress MP from Supaul, Ranjeeta Ranjan, wife of suspended RJD MP Pappu Yadav.

Irked over undue efforts being made by the senior alliance partner - RJD to marginalise Congress, the latter on Thursday almost decided to go it alone in Lok Sabha poll. Till Congress president Rahul Gandhi intervened and saved the day.

Later, it was decided that RJD would support Ranjeeta Ranjan (from Supaul, her constituency) and allow Kirti Azad to contest from any seat other than Darbhanga. Kirti has, however, not given his consent to the proposal that he be fielded from West Champaran, a new and unknown constituency for him.

Press meet cancelled

As a consequence, a press conference convened in Patna to announce GA candidates’ list was called off at the last moment on the plea that RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav was indisposed. The press meet could now be held here on Friday if leaders of Congress and RJD arrive at some kind of rapprochement.

Shatru's joining deferred

On a day laced with high political developments and bitterness, Shatrughan Sinha on Thursday met Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi but could not join the Congress formally. He is likely to be the Congress candidate against BJP nominee and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad from Patna Sahib. “All is well. I will join the grand old party on April 6, on the occasion of Ramnawami,” Shatru told Deccan Herald over the phone.  

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