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Shatrughan Sinha's Entry Delayed as Congress, RJD Spar Over Seat-sharing Formula

Veteran Congress leader Ramdeo Rai has reportedly told the top brass that the seat-sharing arrangement was not in favour of the grand old party and also questioned the Congress’s decision to hold discussions on the seats it holds.


Updated:March 28, 2019, 8:07 PM IST

New Delhi: Rebel BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha's entry into the Congress has been delayed after tussle over seat sharing intensified between Congress and regional giants in Bihar on Thursday.

Veteran Congress leader Ramdeo Rai has reportedly told the top brass that the seat-sharing arrangement was not in the grand old party's favour. He said that RLD and other regional parties should not undermine Congress in coalition politics.

The development comes a day after the Darbhanga Lok Sabha seat, represented by former test cricketer Kirti Azad who recently quit the BJP and joined the Congress, emerged as the new bone of contention in the Mahagathbandhan, with the RJD stating that it wished to field its veteran leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui from the seat.

State Congress president Madan Mohan Jha, when approached with queries about the RJD's claim, had said Darbhanga was an "important seat", but a final call will be taken by the party's high command.

The Congress had last won the seat way back in 1980. Elaborating further on the party's dilemma, Congress leader Rishi Mishra - whose grandfather Lalit Narayan Mishra was a minister in Indira Gandhi's cabinet and is said to be the tallest leader in the Mithila region where Darbhanga falls claimed that Maithil Brahmins in the constituency are traditional supporters of his party.

"Darbhanga can be called the epicenter of Mithila region and Maithil Brahmins have traditionally been Congress supporters. We must respect their sentiments.

"If a Maithil Brahmin like Kirti Azad does not fight from Darbhanga, what is the point in fielding him from some other region," he said.

Mishra's statement came in the wake of unconfirmed reports that the Congress was mooting to give Azad a ticket from Dhanbad in the neighbouring state of Jharkhand, if the RJD remained adamant on Darbhanga.

Kirti Azad's father Bhagwat Jha Azad was a veteran Congress leader, who served as as the chief minister of the state for a brief but eventful tenure in the 1980s.

Interestingly, former Bollywood set designer Mukesh Sahni - whose six-month-old Vikassheel Insaan Party has been allocated three seats within the Grand Alliance - was also said to have been initially keen on Darbhanga, which has a sizeable Nishad population.

Commenting on the developments, Azad said he was hopeful of being fielded from Darbhanga, which has traditionally been a Congress seat. “I have been a sportsperson and when I see the wickets in front of me, I always aim at them. However, I am unable to see the wickets in politics right now,” he said.

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