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Congress, RJD call for handshake with JD-U
Monday May 19, 2014 12:57 PM, IANS

Days after the BJP swept the Lok Sabha polls, the RJD and the Congress called for an urgent "understanding" with the JD-U to prevent any further split in "secular" votes.

"We do not rule out an arrangement with the JD-U (Janata Dal-United) to consolidate the secular votes in the future," Bihar Congress leader Premchand Mishra told IANS.

Hinting at a possible realignment between the Lalu Prasad-led RJD and the JD-U, the two offsprings of the erstwhile Janata Dal, he said "vested interests" should give way to "larger interests" in Bihar, which has 40 Lok Sabha seats.

"If there is any scope for understanding between parties with secular ideologies, it should be exploited. False egos and previous animosity should not stand as obstacles to what can defeat the communal forces," Mishra said in a telephonic interview.

The Congress and the RJD, which were in an alliance , won only two and four seats respectively despite jointly polling a respectable 28.5 percent of all votes.

The ruling JD-U was crushed, winning just two seats. The BJP bagged 22 seats and its ally, the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) of Ram Vilas Paswan, six.

The RJD attributed the failure to convert the vote share into seats to the "spoiling factor" played by the JD-U.

RJD spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwary told IANS: "It wouldn't be right to say we have rejected any possibility of teaming up with the JD-U."

Tiwary said the RJD realises that the "secular" camp can have an advantage over the Bharatiya Janata Party in vote share if the JD-U was aligned with the RJD and the Congress.

Together with JD-U's 15.8 percent vote percentage, the Congress and the RJD would have had nearly 10 perent more votes than the BJP and the LJP which polled 29.4 percent and 6.4 percent votes respectively.

"RJD candidates got two-three lakh votes in every constituency and we could have won more seats if the JD-U hadn't played the spoiler," Tiwary said.

RJD leader Lalu Prasad retains his "iron will" to battle the communal forces and may make "significant decisions" in this regard, he said, indicating a possible coming together of Lalu Prasad and JD-U leaders Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav.

"We are observing the developments in the state," he added.

Both the Congress and the RJD contend that it was opportunism on the part of the LJP to desert them and join the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance just ahead of the Lok Sabha battle.

"Ram Vilas Paswan had said he would abide by whatever decision (Congress president) Sonia Gandhi takes. But suddenly he became a part and parcel of the NDA," Mishra said.

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