Rift in Nitish-led 'grand alliance'; NCP rejects seat sharing
Cracks have appeared in Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led secular 'grand alliance' with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Thursday questioning the "meagre" three seats offered to it for the forthcoming state Assembly polls and termed it "an insult" by alliance partners.
Patna: Cracks have appeared in Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led secular 'grand alliance' with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Thursday questioning the "meagre" three seats offered to it for the forthcoming state Assembly polls and termed it "an insult" by alliance partners.
It also demanded 12 seats for itself in the alliance.
"We have been ignored. We were not even consulted before the seat distribution was finalised. This is an insult to us and we will not tolerate it," NCP general secretary and Lok Sabha MP from Katihar constituency Tariq Anwar told PTI.
The JD(U), RJD, Congress and NCP cobbled up the grand alliance with an aim to check BJP-led NDA in Bihar polls.
In a press conference yesterday by Kumar, Prasad and Congress Bihar in-charge C P Joshi, the alliance declared its seat-sharing arrangement for the 243-seater Assembly.
While JD(U) and RJD got 100 seats each, Congress was given 40 and only three were left for NCP to contest.
Anwar said he has informed NCP president Sharad Pawar about the treatment meted out to the party, and that it should get at least 12 seats to contest.
"There could be no rapprochement over the issue if we get less than 12 seats. Seat distribution should be honourable. There should be some basis, some criteria for it instead of taking unilateral decisions," he added.
The NCP general secretary said the demand for 12 seats is on the basis of Lok Sabha poll performance in which it secured 5.6 lakh votes and won the lone parliamentary seat allotted to it in the alliance.
Anwar also pointed out that his party was runner-up in four constituencies, took third position in 13 and was fourth int over 20 places in the 2010 Assembly elections, which it had contested independently.
The Katihar MP hit out at Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad saying the seat sharing arrangement showed that they do not want the cooperation of people belonging to the minority community and Scheduled Castes in tackling communal forces in the state.
Anwar also questioned the basis on which 40 Assembly seats were given to Congress to contest in the coming polls.
"If we see last year's general elections, Congress contested 12 Lok Sabha seats and won just two. We contested one and won it. Our performance was better in comparison to Congress, yet it got 40 Assembly seats and we have been given just three," he added.
The NCP general secretary said he will start meeting state unit leaders and workers from August 16 to decide the future course of action.
Meanwhile, the state unit of the party has urged Anwar to either pitch for 15 seats in the alliance or go solo in the Assembly polls.