Now, Cong wants 20:20 formula with RJD in Bihar

Now, Cong wants 20:20 formula with RJD in Bihar

Congress president Rahul Gandhi. PTI file photo

Even as the NDA has almost finalised the seat-sharing arrangement in Bihar, the Grand Alliance (GA) in the State may see some initial hiccups in the poll pact.

The Congress, one of the major allies in GA, apart from the RJD and Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM), has upped its ante and demanded a 20-20 formula for the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar.

The logic behind this move is that RJD, which has its large mass base intact, should contest 20 Lok Sabha seats while leaving the rest 20 constituencies for the Congress. The grand old party, from its quota of 20 seats, would allocate few seats to its allies like HAM, Samajwadi Party, Sharad Yadav-led Loktantrik Janata Dal, and the Left parties.

“This (2019) is a parliamentary election. The Congress cannot and should not be seen playing second fiddle to any regional outfit. So, any seat-sharing arrangement should be on equal footing,” working president of Bihar Congress, Kaukab Quadri told Deccan Herald here on Sunday.

Sources in the Congress said if the 20:20 formula works out, then the party may contest nine seats, while allocating two seats to HAM, one seat each to SP and Sharad Yadav’s outfit, three seats to Left Front (comprising CPI, CPM and CPI-ML) and four seats to Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP).

Kushwaha, who is currently part of the NDA, is serving as a Union Minister. “Kushwaha is hard bargaining with both the camps. It’s better he stops sailing in two boats and take a final call on the prospective alliance,” said the Congress source.

The RJD camp is not very enthusiastic about Congress’ optimism. “Where are the leaders in the Congress who could contest and win during 2019 parliamentary polls? The party’s strength has touched its rock bottom. It should do an honest introspection before making ambitious claims,” opined a senior RJD leader, perceived as a close aide of Lalu Prasad. “However, it’s equally true that when the time comes, the seat-sharing arrangement in Grand Alliance will be done without any hassle,” he hastened to add.