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Bihar Assembly election: Reach deal on candidates, Mulayam Singh Yadav tells Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Bihar Election, Janata Parivar

Bihar Assembly election: Reach deal on candidates, Mulayam Singh Yadav tells Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad Yadav
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who was named president of the proposed unified party of Janata Parivar constituents, has asked JD(U)’s Nitish Kumar and RJD’s Lalu Prasad to reach a consensus on the list of candidates for the Bihar Assembly elections. He also asked them to refer all disputes over naming candidates to him.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad had barely got down to the task of drafting a common list here on April 25, when they had to abandon it following an earthquake in Nepal. They soon will be back to the drawing board.

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When asked what was the formula for distribution of tickets, a source said, “An individual’s prospects of victory.” Another source said: “We would focus only on the merits of the candidates…We want winning candidates without JD(U) or RJD tags.”

The sources said JD(U) had initially proposed that the 2010 Assembly poll outcome should be the basis for sharing seats — Nitish’s party had won 115 of the 243 seats in Bihar, while RJD managed only 22 seats in the last state elections.

The RJD, however, suggested that the 2014 Lok Sabha poll performance should be the basis of ticket distribution. While JD(U) managed to win only 2 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, RJD had emerged victorious on four and came second in most other constituencies.

A third proposition was also mooted — 100 seats each for both JD(U) and RJD and the rest 43 for Congress, Left parties and other partners.

Mulayam, according to the sources, rejected the suggestions for fixing any quota, apprehending any such move would lead to a turf war between the two Bihar satraps.

Another poll challenge for Janata Parivar would be the issue of leadership. Just as sources in JD(U) maintained that there was no question of anyone from the Janata-camp replacing Nitish, sources in RJD insisted that the issue was wide-open. They said it would be addressed after the election even though Lalu had not raised any objection to Nitish’s return as CM after Jitan Ram Manjhi’s ouster.

A senior JD(U) leader said Lalu himself stood ruled out as a CM choice in the wake of his conviction in fodder scam and his wife Rabri Devi could never be a credible face for a new bigger party.

In this situation, the source said, there is no one who could match Nitish’s stature, his image and experience.

Still, the sources maintained, that given Lalu’s sensitivity to the matter and the bitter past which the two Bihar leaders shared, they would be content neither formally announcing Nitish’s name, nor ruling it out ahead of elections. “Na chherenge, na chhorenge (we would neither touch, nor give up as far as the leadership is concerned),” they said summing up their strategy.


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