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Cong, RJD spar over seat-sharing for Bihar bypolls

Press Trust of India  |  Patna 

The and the alliance appeared heading for a crisis over bypolls on three seats in next month with the latter today making claims over the Bhabhua seat even as the has said it would contest all these constituencies.

The disintegrated last year after Nitish Kumar walked out of the grouping over graft charge on his then deputy He later joined hands with the to form a coalition government in the state in July 2017.

The and the are still continuing together as rivals of ruling JD(U) and

Signalling a tiff, Legislature Party told reporters here, "I would urge the party high command to take a decision in favour of fielding our own candidate from Bhabhua even if the insists on contesting the assembly seat".

Singh was responding to a query on reports about jailed RJD supremo Lalu Prasad having said in Ranchi that his party was thinking of contesting "all the seats" where bypolls were scheduled next month.

Former BPCC said, "We must contest the Araria parliamentary constituency which has a sizeable population of the minorities. We are a national party and a victory from such a seat will help us build a momentum in our favour."

will see bypolls on March 11 on the Araria Lok Sabha seat along with that of two assembly constituencies, Jehanabad and Bhabhua, necessitated by death of the incumbents.

While Araria and Jahanabad were held by the RJD, Bhabhua was with the

The Congress had contested Bhabhua the seat in 2015 assembly polls, which it fought in alliance with the RJD and the JD(U).

Acting BPCC Kaukab Qadri, however, said, "Neither we nor the RJD has taken any official decision on the by-polls so far. I am sure we will reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial. Our top priority is to ensure emphatic victory for the in all the three seats."

He also said, "As a matter of fact, there is no dispute over the Araria (seat) and Jahanabad assembly seat. Both were represented by the RJD and we respect our ally's claim to these.

"In Bhabhua, our party has a strong base. That is why we hold the view that the Congress should be allowed to contest the seat. But, I don;t think it would involve any confrontation with the RJD. Leaders of both the parties will sit together and arrive at a solution," Qadri said.

Asked to comment on the statements of Singh and Choudhary, RJD vice and former Rabri Devi told reporters, "If the Congress wants to contest any seat, its leaders should come and meet us. What would issuing statements in the media achieve".

Talking to PTI over phone from Ranchi, RJD national general secretary said, "The RJD is on a very strong footing in Bhabhua and the seat has been won by our party or our allies a number of times".

"The Congress has been in a bad shape over the years. Yet, if it insists on contesting the seat, leaders of the two parties can sit together and arrive at an "

The RJD MLA said his party's parliamentary board today met at and authorised Lalu Prasad to take a call on all the three seats where by-polls are due.

The NDA is also yet to arrive at a decision on fielding candidates on the seats. Nitish Kumar, however, yesterday made it clear the JD(U) would not contest any of the three.

The NDA choice of candidates would from among the BJP, the RLSP and the HAM of Jitan

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, February 13 2018. 20:45 IST