The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD ) has asked the smaller allies in the Grand Alliance it leads in Bihar to choose their nominees for seats allotted to them by taking into account their base voters and avoid the mistake of faulty ticket distribution that led to their debacle in the 2019 national polls, people aware of the matter said.
“The smaller parties–be it RLSP [Rashtriya Lok Samata Party] and VIP [Vikashsheel Insaan Party]–have been asked this time to ensure the transfer of their base votes and allot tickets based on their party’s support base. We want all GA [Grand Alliance] candidates to get base votes of different allies and mistakes of the 2019 [national polls] polls are not repeated,” said an RJD leader involved in seat-sharing talks, requesting anonymity.
The RJD’s suggestion is based on the party’s internal assessment after the 2019 debacle that smaller allies did not allot tickets based on their support among different caste groups and thus failed to get the support of various groups among Other Backward Classes mainly Kushwahas.
A second RJD leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said RLSP’s chief Upendra Kushwaha’s contested two seats and allotted another to Congress’s Akash Kumar Singh. He called it an unwise move as it prevented them from attracting base voters of the party as the cadres got disillusioned.
The second RJD leader said the VIP’s ticket selection in 2019 was also faulty as it did not accommodate even a single candidate from the Nonia community, which has a sizeable presence in north Bihar.
In 2019 polls, the RJD-led alliance won only one seat of Bihar’s 40. RJD could not even win a single seat even as it secured 15.68% of votes. Congress got 7.85%, RLSP 3.66%, and VIP 1.65% of votes.
RJD state president Jagdanand Singh refused to comment on the RJD’s suggestion to smaller parties on the candidate selection. “Social combination is a factor in deciding the outcomes of polls. We want all parties to work together.”
Kushwaha is believed to be unhappy with the development even as he denied the RJD had laid any such condition on distributing tickets. He recently said he will stay with the alliance “even if I have to consume poison”.
Kushwaha is said to be annoyed with the RJD and the Congress for not getting any assurance of the number of seats his party would get to contest. He has said he expects to get at least 30 seats.
“ Yes, I have said so. The seat-sharing talks getting delayed is quite worrying and my statement is in that context. But it should not be construed that I am angry with the partners. I am also not aware of any conditions laid down by RJD on ticket distribution,” he said.
VIP chief Mukesh Sahni said they have spoken about ticket distribution based on a party’s base voters. “I have announced that 33% of seats allotted to VIP would be distributed to EBCs [extremely backward classes] from different caste groups. Maybe the number would be higher. The RJD’s proposal is quite logical as candidates should be picked up based on the support base of each GA partner. Even Congress should follow the same.”
The alliance suffered a setback as Hindustani Awaam Morcha left it this month over delay in seat adjustments.