Winter of discontent grips Mahagatbandhan in Bihar

Winter of discontent grips Mahagatbandhan in Bihar

Lalu’s prolonged stay in jail has added to the alliance's woes.

It’s nearly two months since the Mahagatbandhan leaders in Bihar claimed that they would stitch such a formidable alliance in the state which could give the NDA sleepless nights.

Sixty days down the line, the Grand Alliance (GA), as Mahagathbandhan is popularly known, is beset with internal squabbles, with one ally refusing to yield space for other. In this winter of discontent, Lalu’s prolonged stay in jail has added to the GA woes.

The latest sign of confrontation within the GA has come after the RJD proposed that Mayawati’s BSP and Akhilesh Yadav’s SP too be allotted seats in Bihar, which has 40 Lok Sabha constituencies. The move comes close on the heels of RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav meeting Mayawati and Akhilesh in Uttar Pradesh, where the two regional chieftains have already marginalised the Congress.

The grand old party in Bihar now apprehends that the RJD may be cosying up to the BSP and the SP to repeat an Uttar Pradesh-type situation in Bihar where the “Congress may be forced to go it alone if the alliance was not stitched in a respectful manner.”

Besides the existing allies in Mahagathbandhan, which include Congress, HAM, Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP, Sharad Yadav’s LJD and the Left (comprising the CPI, CPM, the CPI-ML), the RJD wants to rope in Mayawati and allot Gopalganj Lok Sabha seat (which shares border with UP) to the BSP to contest.

Similarly, Tejashwi has reportedly offered Akhilesh that the SP should contest Jhanjharpur seat (bordering Nepal) where its Bihar unit president Devendra Yadav could be fielded. Devendra, who was earlier with the RJD, has won from here on four occasions.

“If the RJD wants to allot any seat to the BSP or the SP, we don’t have any problem in the emerging new equation. But then, the RJD will have to allot these seats from its quota. The Congress will vociferously put forth its demand for a respectable number of seats as this is an election for the Lok Sabha. And Congress is the party which has its presence nation-wide,” said senior Congress legislator and AICC media panellist Prem Chandra Mishra.

Tejashwi, who has been spearheading the campaign against the BJP-led NDA and has been instrumental in bringing all such forces inimical to the BJP under one umbrella, said, “It’s true that Congress is a national party with presence in several states. But at the same time, it should behave in a large-hearted manner so that the regional parties, which are strong in its bastion, get the due share.”