Bihar's Grand Alliance Clinches Seat-sharing Deal for Assembly Polls, Tejashwi Yadav Oppn’s CM Face

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Bihar's opposition Grand Alliance announced on Saturday that it has reached a seat-sharing deal for the upcoming assembly elections in the state and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav will be its chief ministerial candidate. The announcement was made at a press conference in the presence of leaders of the coalition.

The RJD, which is spearheading the opposition coalition, will contest on 144 seats in the 243-strong assembly. The Congress has been offered 70 seats, besides contesting the by-poll to Valmiki Nagar Lok Sabha seat, while CPI-(M) and CPI have been given four and six seats, respectively. CPI-ML will contest on 19 seats. RJD said it would accommodate Bollywood set designer Mukesh Sahni's Vikasheel Insan Party (VIP) and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) in its quota of 144 seats.

However, after the press conference, VIP president Mukesh Sahni announced that he was quitting the grand alliance since he did not get "a respectable offer".

The announcement on the seat-sharing deal for the upcoming assembly elections comes after days of deliberations. Notably, the seat-sharing exercise gained momentum after RJD supremo Lalu Prasad’s emissary Bhola Yadav returned to Patna from Ranchi on Thursday with his message on the distribution of seats among different partners, they said.

"Seat-sharing has been finalised and an announcement will be made in all likelihood today evening,” RJD spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari had told PTI earlier on Saturday. The RJD, the Congress, Left parties CPI-ML, CPI and the CPI(M) and Jharkhand’s ruling party JMM are unitedly fighting the Bihar elections scheduled in October-November.

The ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is also expected to announce a seat-sharing agreement for Bihar assembly elections soon. In what may be a setback, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) is likely to contest on 143 seats outside the NDA alliance with the slogan “Modi se bair nahi, Nitish teri khair nahi,” or “No enmity with Modi but won’t spare CM and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar.”

However, the LJP said that it wasn’t walking out of the alliance as the party is in alliance with the NDA at the national level. It is being said that the LJP will act as BJP’s proxy in the alliance.

Voting for Bihar assembly elections will be held in three phases -- first on October 28, second on November 3 and the third on November 7 -- while counting of all votes will take place on November 10.

The election in the state is being conducted at a time when India is recording one of the highest cases daily. However, in the view of Covid-19 situation, the election commission increased the polling hours from 7 am to 6 pm instead of the usual 5 pm. it is being done to avoid crowd and maintain social distancing in the polling process. There will be several arrangements for voters including 7 lakh sanitizers, 46 lakh masks, 6 lakh PPE kits, 7.6 lakh units of face shields and 23 lakh units of hand gloves, the poll body had said.