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RJD leader meets LJP chief Paswan as parties differ on seat-sharing

PTI | Last Updated: Wednesday, December 25, 2013 - 21:01

New Delhi: Amid indications of friction between RJD and LJP over seat-sharing for next Lok Sabha polls, Bihar RJD chief Abdul Bari Siddiqui on Wednesday called on Ram Vilas Paswan seeking to allay misgivings about Lalu Prasad`s party undermining LJP`s importance.

The meeting between Siddiqui and Paswan came a day before a meeting of LJP Parliamentary Board to take a call on the issue of alliance amid demands from some quarters within the party that LJP should also explore the possibilities of an alliance with ruling JD(U).

Sources said the meeting scheduled tomorrow may or may not take place indicating a thaw between the two parties.

Both the parties have publicly so far been claimed that they remain united.
Soon after he was out on bail after conviction in the fodder scam case, the RJD chief, who is keen on an alliance with Congress, came to Delhi and is likely to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

However, the meeting is yet to materialise despite Prasad having arrived here five days back.

Congress, RJD and LJP had contested the 2004 Lok Sabha election in an alliance winning 29 out of the 40 seats in Bihar. However, the alliance broke up in 2009 Lok Sabha polls when RJD had decided to offer three seats to Congress. Prasad had kept 25 seats RJD and gave 12 to LJP.

The rupture in the alliance resulted in huge losses for all the three parties. RJD had contested in 28 seats including the three that was earlier left for Congress but could bag only four. Paswan`s party failed to open account with the party chief himself losing from his home turf Hajipur. Congress won two seats.

Soon after the results, murmurs had started in RJD that Paswan`s party was given too many seats at the expense of Congress and that it did not put up strong candidates. Senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh never hid his opinion on the matter.
Sections in LJP believe the alliance can do better only if Lalu Prasad does not insist on contesting as many seats as his party had done the last time.

Congress, which was last time seeking 8 to 10 seats, is rooting for 15 seats this time. LJP, which had contested 12 seats in last Lok Sabha polls, is not ready to scale down its demand below 10 seats.

If Congress and LJP stick to their positions, there are only 15 seats left for RJD which will find it difficult to accept.

JD (U), which has 20 MPs out of 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, has snapped its 17-year-old ties with BJP.

In the last Lok Sabha polls, BJP and JD-U had contested in alliance winning 32 with BJP bagging 12 seats at a better strike rate than JD(U).

Political observers believe while Congress-RJD-LJP alliance could be a potent combination, the alliance of Congress, JD(U) and LJP is also a promising one. If the four parties contest in two different groups, it could give a further edge to BJP, they believe.

First Published: Wednesday, December 25, 2013 - 20:33
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