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Bihar: No Heartburn, no Trouble in Mahagathbandhan Over Seat Sharing, Say RJD/JD-U

The two key allies who are part of the Opposition INDIA bloc blamed the BJP for “spreading misinformation” through the media.

The Mahagathbandhan government’s focus is to provide jobs to youths and develop the state, said Tejashwi yadav. (File photo)

Patna: There is neither any heartburn nor any trouble in Bihar's ruling Mahagathbandhan coalition, a part of the Opposition alliance, Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha elections. This was claimed by top leaders of the ruling Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Janata Dal-United (JD-U), two key allies, in the past 24 hours.

A day after RJD leader and Deputy Chief Minister Tehashwi Yadav said there was no rift or differences in the Mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance, a senior JD-U leader and Bihar minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary aired somewhat similar views here on Tuesday.

Contrary to media speculations over “widening differences” in the ruling alliance, mainly between RJD and JD-U over seat sharing for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, Chaudhary said everything is well and ruling coalition was “strong and intact”.

"All such stories are speculated in media and created by media. There is no heartburn and no trouble,” said Choudhary, who is considered close to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the JD-U president.

Choudhary said no one was unhappy in the Mahagathbandhan. But he stressed the need to finalise seat sharing at the earliest, as any delay could affect poll prospects. Earlier, he had said repeatedly that the INDIA bloc should clear its seat sharing to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance in the polls.

Tejashwi Yadav on Monday had refuted reports of “rift or differences” between RJD and JD-U over seat-sharing. "Such rift is only in media reports. The reality is that there are no diffetences. The Mahagathbandhan is stable and everything will be done on right time", he told reporters.

Yadav, the younger son of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, recalled that since RJD and JD-U joined hands and formed the Mahagathbandhan government in 2022, time and again it was reported that differences were growing between two, that the Mahagathbandhan would not last long, and so forth. “Some people have vested interests in spreading such rumours, creating such cooked up stories,” he said.

Yadav said the Mahagathbandhan government’s focus was to provide jobs to youths and develop the state.

"We have distributed more than two lakh government school teachers’ jobs in the past 70 days in the state. It is a record in the country. We have increased reservation quota and released the caste survey report after conducting it. Our government has given government employee status to more than 3.5 lakh contractual school teachers and hiked the monthly honorarium of Anganwadi, ASHA workers and others," he added.

The speculation over “differences” ended on Monday when Kumar visited the official residence of Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi (former Chief Ministers) on the occasion of Makar Sankranti and relished the traditional Dahi-Chura. The visit was a “clear signal” that all is well in the Mahagathbandhan.

In recent days, RJD and JD-U leaders have alleged that BJP was behind such reports in the media to “spread misinformation.

Recent reports have suggested that JD-U and RJD were likely to contest the majority of the 40 parliamentary seats in the state, leaving a smaller share for Congress and Left parties.

Kumar and Prasad have reportedly formulated a “winning formula” to prevent the BJP-led NDA from replicating its 2019 success in Bihar. According to the formula, JD-U and RJD will contest 16 or 17 seats, with Congress receiving four to six seats and the Left parties getting one to two seats.

JD-U leaders have consistently said in the past week that the party would not compromise on contesting less than 16 seats, the number it won in the previous elections. In the last Lok Sabha elections, JD-U contested in alliance with BJP and won 16 seats out of 17 contested.

In the previous Lok Sabha elections, the BJP-led NDA secured 39 out of 40 parliamentary seats, with the Congress winning only one seat and the RJD failing to secure any seats—a big setback for the party.

However, the ground situation is different this time, with JD-U and RJD being key allies within the ruling Mahagathbandhan, including the Congress and three Left parties- CPI(ML), CPI(M), and CPI—which together hold significant political influence in Bihar compared with the BJP-led NDA.

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