Kushwaha’s entry strengthens grand alliance in Bihar, speculations rise over seat sharing

With the entry of former Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) into the grand alliance in Bihar politics, speculations are rife over seat-sharing among parties in the coming Lok Sabha polls.

Mr Kushwaha quit the NDA over the seat allocation and joined grand alliance on Thursday at the AICC headquarters in the presence of Congress treasurer Ahmed Patel, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav, former Bihar Chief Minister and Hindustani Awami Mocha leader Jitin Ram Manjhi and Congress’ Bihar in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil.

On his entry into Congress-led Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance), Mr Kushwaha said he was humiliated in the NDA and Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not keep his promise to Bihar. “We had said that we have many options and UPA was one of them. The wholeheartedness of Rahul Gandhi and Lalu Yadav is one of the reasons I joined. But the biggest reason I am here is the people of Bihar”, he said.

In the 2014 election, the RLSP contested in four seats and won three seats along with BJP’s 22 and Ram Vilas Paswan -led Lok Janshakti Party’s (LJP) six giving the NDA a total of 31 seats out of 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

According to NDA sources, in the coming Lok Sabha polls, Mr Kushwaha demanded six seats but when the BJP leadership rejected the demand, the RSLP walked out of the alliance. The 2014, the BJP got an upper hand thanks to the ‘Modi wave’, and the alliance of Congress, RJD and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) failed to make a mark and was reduced to seven seats.

While the RJD contested in 27 seats, it won only four seats. Likewise Congress won 2 seats out of 12 seats it contested. The NCP won the lone seat it contested. According to sources, Mr Kushwaha has made an agreement with the RJD and Congress party to contest in a minimum of six seats.

Political observers pointed out that the RJD would have to sacrifice their seat share to accommodate Mr Kushwaha’s party as well as the Congress , which is regaining their ground at the national level especially after the recently held assembly polls. The major alliance partners also want to accommodate Mr Manjhi’s party, which was forced to give up more seats, so as to not disturb the alliance.

Earlier in the day, while welcoming Mr Kushwaha into the alliance, Mr Ahmed Patel said that there is a gathbandhan in Bihar and added that “it is a matter of happiness that Upendra Kushwaha is joining the mahagathbandhan”.

Addressing mediapersons, the RJD leader also said, “the grand alliance is growing in Bihar. This is not a coalition of parties, but heart of the public. This is a coalition to resolve the issues faced by farmers and youth. This is an alliance of social commitment towards social justice. This is the public coalition for the public against dictatorship”.

The Insides Speak.