After the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD) no-show in Bihar in the Lok Sabha elections, the clamour is growing in the Congress to drop out of its Grand Alliance with the RJD and other parties and go it alone in the Assembly elections next year.
A large number of Congress functionaries held RJD responsible for the ‘shameful’ poll debacle and want the grand old party to go it alone.
Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee working president Shyam Sunder Singh Dhiraj said that those allies who pledged to campaign against the National Democratic Alliance and Narendra Modi, were, in fact, conspiring to work against Congress.
In a veiled attack on RJD chief Lalu Prasad, he said that those allies who are convincing Rahul not to resign as party chief were also among those who betrayed him. Dhiraj claimed that if it were not for Rahul, the entire opposition would be wiped out.
Party leaders also feel that in the so called Grand Alliance, the Congress is painted with the same brush as the RJD, whose President Lalu Prasad is serving a jail term at a Ranchi hospital in the fodder scam cases.
Leaving the coalition would allow the voters in Bihar to think differently about the Congress, thus helping it gather new supporters ahead of the Assembly polls.
Supporting the demand, veteran party leader Nikhil Kumar said: “The Grand Alliance was lacking in its seat-sharing arrangement, ticket distribution and even campaigning.”
Congress’ Kadwa MLA Shakeel Ahmad Khan echoed Nikhil Kumar’s assertion. “Mahagatbandhan was an alliance of five parties and meetings of senior party functionaries was also held. But the alliance did not look united during the elections. The alliance only looked superficial. There was a clearly visible lack of cohesiveness among the allies at Siwan, Supaul, Jehanabad and Sheohar,” Khan said .
“Tejashwi Prasad tried everything possible to get Congress leader from Madhubani Dr Shakeel Ahmad sacked or suspended from the party,” he said. Shakeel Ahmad had contested as Independent from Madhubani despite VIP’s candidate in the fray.
“People from his own family were speaking against nominees of Mahagathbandhan. People were looking at all this and this kind of immaturity was not good,” the Kadwa legislator said.
RJD leader Shivanand Tiwari said that the remarks from Congress leaders are being given only due to the defeat. “They will stop making such statements after some time,” he said.
Under the seat- sharing arrangement, RLSP was given five seats and it lost all.
Congress, the second major ally in Bihar Mahagathbandhan, got only nine seats in its kitty and it managed to win Muslim-dominated Kishanganj constituency.
RJD had contested on 19 seats and failed to even open its account.
Two other smaller allies in the Bihar Mahagathbandhan- Jitan Ram Manjhi- led HAM (S) and Mukesh Sahni- led Vikassheel Insan Party (VIP) contested on three seats each but failed to win any.