The Congress party has issued an ultimatum to the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) as seat-sharing talks in Bihar near the final stage.
Congress Bihar in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil reminded the RJD the party is prepared “for any eventuality” and the latter can contest the polls solo.
After its dismal show in last year’s Lok Sabha polls, in which it drew a blank, the RJD has decided on not giving enough leverage to allies at its cost. The party also feels the Congress will always be open to a post-poll alliance with Nitish Kumar in case of a hung Assembly. Therefore, the fewer seats the Congress contests on, the lesser leverage it will have after the results, according to RJD’s scheme of things.
Former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) and RLSP have, so far, left the Grand Alliance, ostensibly due to the RJD’s tough stance on the seat-sharing formula.
The RJD has 81 seats in the present Assembly.
Last week, the key dates for elections to elect the members of the 243 seats for the Bihar State Legislative Assembly were announced by the Election Commission of India (EC). The Bihar assembly elections will be held in three phases from October 28 and November 7, chief election commissioner Sunil Arora said.
Voting in the first phase will be held on October 28, the second phase will be on November 3 and the third phase will be on November 7. The counting of votes will take place on November 10. Notably, this will be the first state election to be held in India since the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Chief election commissioner Sunil Arora said that one of the first major steps which were taken was to bring down the maximum number of electors at a polling station from 1,500 to 1,000. “As a result of this, the number of polling stations went from 65,337 (in 2015 Assembly elections) to more than one lakh in 2020," he said. The ECI has also made preparations for sanitisers, masks and PPE kits, to ensure the safe conduct of the elections in Bihar.