Patna, February 13: Differences over seat sharing in the Grand Alliance in Bihar cropped up on Wednesday with Congress leaders saying the party will contest equal number of seats vis-a-vis the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in the next Lok Sabha elections. "The Congress wants to contest seats equal to the RJD, no less," Congress legislator Ajeet Sharma said here on Wednesday.
Sharma said the Congress doesn't want more seats than the RJD, but no less either. "We have informed the party high command about this," he said. Another Congress legislator, Ramdeo Rai, also said the Congress will contest as an equal partner and on the front foot. Mahagathbandhan Seat-Sharing Pact in Bihar: RJD Rejects Congress' Demand to Contest on 15 Seats in Lok Sabha Elections 2019, Says Report.
Two days ago, another Grand Alliance ally, the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), too demanded respectable number of seats. HAM chief and former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi made it clear that the HAM should not be given less seats than the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP).
"The RJD and the Congress are busy bargaining with each other over seats, but they cannot ignore the HAM and the RLSP," a senior HAM leader said. State RJD chief Ramchandra Purbe had said his party will contest 20-22 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar and leave the rest for allies.
The Congress leaders then staked claim to 12-15 seats, followed by the RLSP (5-6), the HAM (3) and the fledgling Vikassheel Insan Party (one). In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the RJD won four seats and the Congress two. The JD-U, which contested separately, won two seats. The BJP-led NDA won 31 seats, with the BJP's tally being 22. One seat went to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).