Made for each other like situation for RJD, Congress in Bihar!
After a chaotic seat sharing deal for coming Lok Sabha election in Bihar NDA, that saw months of deadlock and eventually led to ouster of Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) from the alliance. Now it’s turn of Grand Alliance to cope up with the muscle flexing of its constituents.
The pressure is specially on Rashtriya Janta Dal to accommodate new entrants like Upendra Kushwaha led Rashtriya Lok Samta Party, Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustani Awam Morcha, Sharad Yadav's Loktantrik Janta Dal, Mukesh Sahni's Vikassheel Insaaf Party, Left Parties as well as resurgent Congress's high seat ambition-- a few local Congress leaders are demanding as high as twenty seats.
The grand old party- Congress though a marginalized force in the state for more than two decades is particularly keen to revive its fortune in the state. After making a come back in state assembly election. the party is determine to use it as leverage in the seat sharing arrangement with RJD.
According to reports despite RJD's eagerness to seal the deal at the earliest Congress wants to push it after its proposed Feb 3, Jan Akansha Rally, obviously to further strengthen its bargaining position. Congress sources even suggested that party is exploring possibility of an alliance minus RJD.
However, a political analyst strongly rejected this suggestion: "It would be simply shooting in its foot. Congress can not afford to lose RJD at this juncture. It would potentially cost Grand Alliance at least 20-25 seats as NDA has become strong contender after the homecoming of Nitish. Exit polls are already predicting a close contest. In such scenario, a margin of 10 seats would matter in forming the next central government. So the muscle flexing is going to be limited to bargain more seats."
On the other hand, in the absence of its president Lalu Yadav, RJD is definitely left without the services of its toughest bargainer. Still, opposition leader Tejashawi Yadav has become quite acquainted with the moves of the game.
An effective communicator across platform, Tejashwi has ensured his party presence at every major opposition’s events. In fact, during recently held Upper Cast Reservation debate in parliament, RJD was the only party from north India to oppose the bill.
By travelling to Lucknow to support the BSP-SP poll alliance Tejashwi quickly matched the hard ball of Congress with his own dexterous move. He also went over to attend the Mamata Banerjee’s Kolkata rally.
Moreover, RJD with its formidable vote bank-- It won all 3 by polls (two assembly and one Lok Sabha seats) held in March, 2018 -- is not a pushover.
Therefore, interdependence will force the RJD and Congress to explore their options by keeping the alliance intact.