Ahead Of Rajya Sabha Polls, Bihar's Opposition Bickers Over Seats

Under the circumstances, the RJD is sending a signal that the one-seat understanding with Congress does not stand.

Ahead Of Rajya Sabha Polls, Bihar's Opposition Bickers Over Seats

Lalu Yadav will take the final call regarding this (File)

Patna:

Lalu Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal has scoffed at the "open letter" from its alliance partner Congress, with a reminder of its "promise" for the Rajya Sabha elections. The party wants two of the five Rajya Sabha seats, on which election would be held on March 27 and insists that the RJD had promised to earmark at least one seat for them.

Lalu Yadav's party now says it needs the two seats. RJD national spokesman Manoj Jha said the "open letter" by Congress's Shaktisinh Gohil was "written with a closed mind". Mr Jha said the promise that Mr Gohil "sought to remind us of, was made in a specific context".

The promise was made by Tejashwi Yadav - Lalu Yadav's political heir -- at a press conference ahead of last year's Lok Sabha polls, apparently to soothe the Congress, which was upset over seat share. The party, which demanded 11of the state's 40 seats, was allotted just nine.

In the election, neither the RJD nor the Congress won a single seat- all 40 went to the BJP and its ally Nitish Kumar. Congress won one kishanganj seat.

Under the circumstances, the RJD is sending a signal that the one-seat understanding with Congress does not stand.

"When Tejashwi Yadav made the promise, the RJD was planning to contest 25 seats on its own, in proportion to its strength in Bihar, and accommodate other Grand Alliance partners in the remaining 15. That did not happen and we had to contend with less than 20 for the first time in the party's history," Mr Jha said.

"It should be remembered that Lalu Prasad had stood solidly behind Sonia Gandhi when many in her own party were not supporting her fully. The Congress should understand our predicament," Mr Jha said, pointing out that after the death of senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, the RJD has been left  with four Rajya Sabha members. Ram Jethmalani died last year and the seat was bagged by the BJP with the help of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's party, the Janata Dal United.

"We must have five or more to be recognized in the House as a party and not fall in the others category," Mr Jha added.

Lalu Yadav will take the final call on the matter, sources say.

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