New Delhi: Bihar's ruling JD(U) and Lalu Prasad's RJD will contest the state assembly elections in alliance. JD(U) and RJD will constitute a 6-member committee for seat-sharing talks.
"Today, it has been decided that RJD and JD(U) will contest the Bihar polls in alliance," Samajwadi Party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav said after a two-hour meeting between Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
Emerging from the meeting held in the presence of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Ram Gopal said a six-member panel will discuss seat-sharing but refused to name its members.
"These cannot be revealed. The two parties will appoint three members each to the panel which will undertake the important task of devising a seat-sharing formula," he said. Asked about the contentious issue of chief ministership, the SP general secretary said,"There is no dispute. These things will be taken care of later."
Devising an amicable seat-sharing arrangement is likely to be a tough task for the two parties.
Of the 243 assembly seats in Bihar, JD(U) had contested 141 in alliance with BJP and won 117 in 2010 elections. Lalu's RJD on the other hand had contested 168 seats in alliance with Ram Vilas Paswans LJP and won only 24 seats.
While the JD(U) began by saying that the 2010 formula should be repeated, RJD talked of 2014 Lok Sabha results to be considered as the basis for seat-sharing.
In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, JD(U) had won only two seats, while RJD won four and Congress two. RJD had then led in 43 assembly segments and finished second in 92 assembly segments.
RJD Vice President Raghuvansh Prasad Singh last month demanded that the party be allotted at least 145 seats of the total of 243 seats on this basis.
Beyond these public assertions, one compromise formula being discussed was that both JD(U) and RJD contest 100 seats each leaving the rest for allies.
Even as RJD and JD(U) are engaged in a hard bargain over seats for the assembly polls, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said in Patna that all secular parties must unite to defeat 'communal' BJP in Bihar elections.
"I am confident that all secular parties will rally together to not only defeat the BJP-led NDA in the Assembly poll in Bihar, but also end its 'politics of tension' (tanav ki rajniti)," he said.
On Kumar's reported insistence on being declared the alliance’s chief ministerial candidate, he said the senior JD(U) leader is the Chief Minister and "the face of the alliance" at the moment and is being supported by all secular parties....