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amit shah: Bihar’s opposition touches base on poll position after Shah’s ‘rally’


New Delhi: After home minister Amit Shah’s ‘virtual rally’ in Bihar, state’s opposition parties have started assessing the feasibility of assembly polls in November and are working on the contours of seat-sharing amid spike in Covid-19 cases.

After learning the mind of ‘a very senior RJD leader’, a key Congress leader from Bihar arrived in Delhi for presenting a feedback to the Gandhis and AICC brass to firm up the state unit’s approach to RJD on seat-sharing.

Opposition camps have found Shah’s prediction of JDU-BJP alliance securing a two-thirds majority under Nitish Kumar’s leadership predictable: Shah had already announced Kumar would lead the alliance in the next polls.

Secondly, even in case of uncertainty on the alliance, seasoned politicians are not expected to make it public almost six months ahead and give rival parties a chance to open channels with aggrieved alliance partners.

Opposition leaders also feel LJP leader Chirag Paswan’s remark that it was for BJP to decide on Kumar’s future role echoed BJP’s views in the season of bargaining.

The opposition believes the timing of the Bihar polls would depend on when the EC would notify polls to legislative council (for graduates’ and teachers’ constituencies) and civic bodies, considered a prelude to the assembly polls, apart from the Covid-19 scene in Bihar in July-August.

“Holding assembly elections is a constitutional requirement. It is the domain of the EC to conduct elections. RJD is fully prepared to face polls anytime,” said its state chief Jagadanand Singh but declined to reveal RJD’s alliance plans. Congress, which won 26 of 42 assembly seats contested last time in alliance with RJD and JDU (which contested 100 seats each), is eyeing a larger share this time.

“Our strike rate was better than many other parties. We would, therefore, want to contest more seats,” said senior Bihar Congress leader Akhilesh Prasad Singh.

Though at a recent meeting in Patna some Bihar Congress leaders fancied demanding 100 seats, given Congress’ limited social and electoral base, a realistic assessment will be in the range of 60-70 seats or risk the perils of contesting without RJD.

Some AICC functionaries are miffed with the proposition circulated by a “freelancing electoral consultant” that Tejashwi Yadav can’t be opposition’s winning face as Congress leaders know RJD would never stomach such a condition just as Congress would not let future allies to veto projection of Rahul Gandhi as the face of Congress-led alliance in national politics.

Among other opposition parties, CPIML appears to have a better appreciation of electoral value in the minds of larger opposition parties, compared to CPI, CPM and outfits led by Upendra Kushwaha, Sharad Yadav and Jitan Ram Manjhi.

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