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The Hindu
The Hindu
Amarnath Tewary

Mukesh Sahani-led Vikassheel Insaan Party ties up with RJD, set to fight in 3 seats

Mukesh Sahani-led Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) on April 05 joined hands with the Rashtriya Janata Dal to contest from three Lok Sabha seats in Bihar. RJD leader and Leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Yadav announced that his party would spare three seats from its quota for the VIP to contest.

Under the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) seat-sharing arrangement in Bihar of a total of 40 Lok Sabha seats, RJD was to contest in 26 seats, Congress in nine while the remaining five seats were left for the Left parties — three to Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), one seat each to Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist).

The RJD has allotted Gopalganj, Jhanjharpur and Motihari to the VIP from its quota of seats. “Now, the RJD would contest in 23 seats after sparing three seats from its quota to the VIP,” said Mr. Yadav, former Deputy Chief Minister, while addressing media persons on Friday.

‘Alliance for 2025 too’

“We welcome Mukesh Sahani in the grand alliance. Our alliance with Mukesh Sahani’s party will even continue in future also, in the next State Assembly poll, which is not far away,” Mr. Yadav said. State Assembly elections in Bihar is due in November 2025.

Mr. Yadav also hit out at the BJP-led NDA government and said: “Those raising slogans of abki baar, 400 ke paar (this time, over 400 seats) will be taught a lesson by those in the land of Bihar. Earlier too, I have said that Bihar will give a shocker of a result to them [BJP-led NDA] in the Lok Sabha polls.”

In a sharp attack on the BJP-led Centre, he claimed: “In an internal meeting of the BJP in Gaya, a leader said in front of Minister Prem Kumar that we need a strong majority and we’ll change the Constitution... no one has the strength to change the Indian Constitution.”

Mr. Sahani, though, charged that the BJP was trying to “poach leaders” of his party and finish it off. “But I believed in the ideology of RJD chief Lalu Prasad and we will strongly fight the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha polls together and win all 40 seats in Bihar,” he added.

Mr. Sahani also drew parallels between him and Mr. Yadav. “There can be differences between the two brothers. But both of us have suffered losses. And today is the time to take revenge from those who stuck a dagger in our chest and poached our MLAs,” he said, while launching a broadside at the BJP for promising to provide job opportunities to around two crore youth but not even generating two lakh jobs since coming to power.

Formed in 2018, Mr. Sahani started the party with great fanfare by giving himself the title of ‘son of Mallah (boatmen)’ in full-page newspaper advertisements and putting up huge billboards across Patna. He comes from the Extremely Backward Class (EBC) of boatmen community in the State, which forms around 6% of the State’s total 36% EBC community. The Mallah community in Bihar is electorally influential in districts like Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur and Madhubani.

In the run-up to the 2020 Bihar Assembly election, Mr. Sahani had dramatically walked out from the RJD-Congress alliance during a press meet in Patna and joined the BJP-led NDA in the State.

“Leaders like Mukesh Sahani have no credibility. They can move away from any party even during a press meet,” BJP leader Syed Shahnawaz Hussain said in a mocking tone after Mr. Sahani joined the RJD-led alliance on Friday.

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