Battle for Bihar: Congress to hold crucial meet today on seat sharing


The Congress party will hold crucial discussions in New Delhi on Wednesday ahead of finalising the seat-sharing agreement with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) for Bihar Assembly elections.

The party has called its Bihar unit chief Madan Mohan Jha and CLP leader Sadanand Singh to Delhi for the meeting. The All India Congress Committee’s screening panel on Bihar will also hold a meeting today. It is expected to take place at 3 pm.

The screening committee will shortlist the party candidates and forward the list to the central election committee for final selection.

Both the parties have so far refused to budge from their position, according to people aware of the development. While the RJD’s latest offer is 58 seats in the 243-member House, the Congress is demanding 75, leaders of the two parties said on condition of anonymity.

The matter will now be decided by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

The nomination for the first phase of voting in Bihar will start from October 1.

A Congress fucntionary said that both the parties have in principle decided to fight the upcoming Bihar elections together and are also ready to accommodate the three Left parties, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) besides the Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) of Mukesh Sahani. But getting to a deal has been tough.

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 Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) (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 the NDA.

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