Seat pact only after inauspicious period is over: Lalu

Seat pact only after inauspicious period is over: Lalu

Bolstered by the victory of the Congress in three, the Mahagatbandhan leaders in Bihar are in an upbeat mood.

However, Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, has become the political hub for those who intend to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Bihar.

Reason: Lalu is cooling his heels at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi.

And it will be the RJD chief who will eventually decide which Mahagatbandhan leader contests from where.

Obviously, there is a mad scramble among the leaders of Mahagatbandhan constituents to meet Lalu and mark their presence. But the RJD chief is not making any commitment to anyone.

"Kharmas ke baad baat hogi (We will discuss seat-sharing talks after Kharmas," is the general refrain from Lalu to all those who call upon him at RIMS.

'Kharmas' is considered an inauspicious period from December 15 to January 13 where no new assignment or decision is taken. The auspicious period begins with Makar Sankranti on January 14.

As per the jail manual (and much to Lalu’s relief), a visitor can meet him only on Saturday, that too there cannot be more than a couple of visitors a day.

So even though leaders of the Congress, Left, Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustan Awam Morcha, Sharad Yadav's LJD and the Samajwadi Party have been visiting Lalu every week, the RJD chief is weighing his options before making a final commitment.

The astute politician that Lalu is, he is buying time so that the Congress, buoyed by the stupendous Assembly results in the three states, may not start extracting its pound of flesh in a state where RJD has a large mass base.

The three byelections this year, all of which RJD won, shows that Lalu's vote base is intact despite Nitish Kumar deserting the Grand Alliance and Lalu languishing in jail.

The Congress and Left, besides Sharad Yadav and Manjhi, know deep within that if they have to emerge triumphant in the 2019 parliamentary polls, it could be only by riding piggy-back on the RJD.

"One thing is for sure. The RJD will contest not less than 20 seats out of 40 Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar. It could be even 25. In the remaining seats, we have to accommodate Congress, Left, Sharad Yadav’s faction, Manjhi and even Upendra Kushwaha's RLSP. We still have three-four months left for the LS poll. There are many seats even in Mahagatbandhan where there are inherent contradictions (read: many claimants). The issue will be resolved early next year," RJD national vice president Shivanand Tiwary told DH.