Turmoil in Grand Alliance Ahead of Bypolls in Bihar

Grand Alliance in Bihar appeared heading for fresh trouble on Wednesday with its constituents making competing claims on assembly segments where by-polls are scheduled next month.

By-elections are taking place for Samastipur Lok Sabha seat necessitated by the death of the sitting LJP MP besides Daraunda, Nathnagar, Simari Bakhtiarpur, Kishanganj and Belhar assembly segments as the incumbent JD(U) MLAs and a Congress MLA have got elected to the Parliament.

RJD, which heads the five-party coalition, is on Tuesday understood to have given party tickets to its candidates for Nathnagar, Simari Bakhtiarpur and Belhar besides telling its cadres that the nominee for Daraunda will be announced soon.

RJD sources defended the party's decision with regard to the four seats saying these were its "traditional strongholds" and pointing out that it has not staked claim over Kishanganj since it was a sitting seat of the Congress.

Angered over the development, Hindustani Awam Morcha chief Jitan Ram Manjhi rushed to Bhagalpur and announced candidature of his party's Ajay Rai for Nathnagar in the district. Manjhi sought to know whether the RJD "wants to remain in the Grand Alliance or walk out".

Accusing the RJD of "helping the BJP in the name of fighting it", Manjhi made it clear that his party candidate will file his nomination papers on September 30, the last date for doing so.

Mukesh Sahni who heads the Vikassheel Insan Party (VIP) told reporters "we will enter the fray from Simri Bakhtiyarpur. The candidate will be announced soon and filing of nominations will take place on September 28.

"We will also support Manjhi's candidate in Nathnagar. We will support Grand Alliance candidates in all other seats where by-polls are scheduled".

Interestingly, the Congress which is also one of the grand alliance constituents is yet to reveal its cards though a meeting held at the state headquarters here for planning Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary celebrations ended in a clamour for "going it alone" in the five assembly and one Lok Sabha seats.


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