The Antony Committee has to decide whether the Congress should tie up with RJD or with the ruling JD (U) led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar or go it alone.
Apparently alarmed by the BJP-LJP tie-up, pressure is building up on the Congress in Bihar for firming up its alliance for Lok Sabha polls. “Ambiguity on alliance issue should end as early as possible in Bihar”, party general secretary Shakeel Ahmed told PTI, reflecting the opinion of a large section of partymen from the key State.
A high level committee headed by senior leader A. K. Antony is going into the issue of alliances for Congress in various states. The Antony Committee has to decide whether the Congress should tie up with RJD or with the ruling JD (U) led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar or go it alone.
In the last Lok Sabha polls, Congress contested on its own as RJD and LJP parted ways with the UPA and contested together. Congress could get only two of the 40 seats in the State. There is no likelihood of Congress joining hands with JD(U) given the fact that Mr.Kumar is now with the 11-party non-Congress, non-BJP formation. State Congress leaders note that Mr.Paswan walked over to the NDA after he failed to finalise the seat arrangements with RJD as part of a larger Congress-RJD-LJP tie-up.
Mr. Ahmed’s remarks came at a time when there has been general talk in the party that it is just a matter of time that the Congress alliance with Lalu Prasad’s RJD will be finalised. Top Congress leaders had earlier maintained that an effective secular alliance in Bihar has to have three parties in such a formation. The dilemma was only about whether to go with RJD having a “tainted” leader like Lalu Prasad or Nitish Kumar’s JD (U) whose image has been clean. Mr.Paswan had declared last month that there was no doubt about his alliance with Congress, which has to choose between RJD and JD(U).
A day before Mr.Paswan announced a tie-up with BJP, he had alleged that there was lack of seriousness on the issue of alliance when he was talking to Congress and RJD and he was forced to look for an alternative after being “humiliated“. The Ram Vilas Paswan-led party stitched up a pre-poll alliance with BJP on Thursday night returning to the NDA fold, 12 years after it quit over Gujarat riots. LJP will fight seven out of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar under a seat-sharing deal. Mr.Paswan parted ways with BJP by resigning as Coal Minister from the NDA government in April 2002, citing Gujarat riots as the reason.