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RJD, Congress to declare seat-sharing for Bihar polls later this week

ANI | Updated: Sep 28, 2020 21:28 IST

By Siddharth Sharma
New Delhi [India], September 28 (ANI): The RJD-Congress-Left alliance is holding final rounds of seat-sharing talks for Bihar assembly elections and an announcement is likely to be made later this week.
Ahead of the announcement, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress are pressurizing each other to get more "winnable seats".
Sources said negotiations between RJD and Congress are still being held on about 10 seats.
They said RJD is likely to contest about 150 seats in the 243-member assembly.
"Congress will get about 70 seats and the Left parties are will be given around 20 seats," a source told ANI.
The sources said RJD may be able to increase its seat share as it is expected to field half-a-dozen candidates of Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) on its election symbol.
Three left parties - CPI, CPM, and CPI-ML - will also field their candidates.
The nomination for the first phase of voting in Bihar will start from October 1.
"Seat-sharing in opposition alliance is expected to be announced on October 2 or 3," a source said.
The sources said that it was decided during the beginning of negotiations that seat-sharing will be based on 2015 formula, according to which 41 seats were to go to Congress and 101 seats to RJD.
Of the remaining 101 seats, which were fought by JD-U in 2015, 50 were to be fought by RJD, 30 by Congress and 20 by Left parties.
The sources said Congress has been cautious due to the experience it had in 2019 Lok Sabha elections "when 12 seats were fixed for the party in the alliance but later got only nine seats".

"At that time, RJD promised to give one seat of Rajya Sabha to Congress, which was not done," a source said.
The Congress, sources said, has given a clear message to the RJD that if there is "any attempt like the Lok Sabha elections, it will not remain in the alliance".
The party wants to contest a "respectable number of seats" and the seat sharing pact will eventually show if Congress has succeeded in negotiations.
Sources also said that a breakdown of alliance is unlikely as both the RJD and Congress will suffer losses.
The opposition alliance has received two setbacks. While Jeetan Ram Manjhi-led HAM has joined NDA, Upendra Kushwaha's RLSP is on the same course. Both of them have raised the issue of "respect" in the RJD-Congress alliance.
According to sources, RJD wanted that candidates of Manjhi and Kushwaha to contest on the election symbol of RJD or Congress instead of their own as it felt, there was a scope of defection from these parties after the polls.
"If their candidates win on election symbol of RJD or Congress, then there will be no danger of them approaching the other alliance," a source said.
The sources said both Manjhi and Kushwaha did not accept this condition.
While negotiations have been relatively easy due to the absence of Manjhi and Kushwaha, the opposition alliance will also suffer damage as the two leaders have their voter base in some regions of the state. Congress-RJD strategists, however, claim that there will be no damage.
Bihar assembly elections will be held in three phases - October 28, November 3 and 7 and the counting of votes will take place on November 10.
In the 2015 Assembly polls, JD-U, RJD, and Congress had fought the elections together under the Mahagathbandhan banner. On the other hand, the BJP-led NDA had fought the elections with Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and other allies.
RJD with 80 seats had emerged as the single largest party in the elections, followed by JD-U (71), and BJP (53). However, BJP got the largest vote share (24.42 per cent), followed by RJD with 18.35 per cent and JD-U (16.83 per cent).
Differences later emerged between the RJD and JD-U and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar returned to NDA. (ANI)