Congress suspects some of its Bihar allies may jump ship before polls

1 year ago 49
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NEW DELHI: Congress is sceptical of the political moves of some of its Bihar allies who are raising the ante against Rashtriya Janata Dal of Lalu Prasad and suspects that they may be angling for the '

third front

' that 'rivals' may spring up for the state elections later this year.
Amid murmurs of dissent from minor Bihar parties - RLSP of

Upendra Kushwaha

, VIP of

Mukesh Sahni

and HAM of

Jeetan Ram Manjhi

- who contested as part of the RJD-led alliance in the 2019

Lok Sabha

elections, top Congress sources said their posturing against projection of RJD's Tejashwi Yadav as the chief ministerial face has to be taken with a pinch of salt.
"Manjhi appears to be paying serious thought to the proposal of 'third front'. It may be the gameplan of our rivals to create division in opposition votes. The CM face may not be the only provocation as is being projected. There is more to the show of dissent by some of the members," a senior Congress strategist said.
Congress's allusion to "rival design" suggests that the ruling camp in Bihar may orchestrate the new front. While such a front was earlier planned by election strategist and former JD(U) member Prashant Kishor, nothing has come of it yet.
Congress is optimistic that RLSP will stay on with the opposition alliance. Kushwaha is bitterly anti-Nitish Kumar, a reason why he also left the NDA which had made him a minister at the Centre. But some others are seen to be negotiating elsewhere too.
These minor outfits are said to be against Tejashwi's projection as the CM face. They want to lobby with Congress to argue the case against Tejashwi. But RJD is also learnt to be talking to the Left parties to expand the social justice tent that the 'grand alliance' represents. A senior Congress manager said, "The talks on nitty-gritties and final shape of alliance, besides the leadership issue, will take some time. By then, it will also be clear who wants to go where."

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