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Congress riding piggyback on RJD in Bihar
October 14, 2005 15:21 IST
With its electoral fortunes on a downswing in Bihar, the Congress has hitched on to the Lalu bandwagon, jettisoning Ram Vilas Paswan, its ally at the Centre, and striking a bargain under which it has been allotted just 51 seats-- the lowest it has ever contested in the state.
The grand old party, which had gone to polls in February this year in alliances with RJD and LJP contesting 84 seats, could secure just ten and finish second in as many, polling a meagre five per cent of votes.
Many of its candidates forfeited their security deposits in one of their worst drubbings in the assembly polls.
Realising that a split in secular votes brought the National Democratic Alliance perilously close to forming a government in Bihar, the Congress has accepted an arrangement under which it got 51 seats, 33 less than the last time.
The Congress had contested all 243 seats in the 2000 assembly polls winning just 12, finishing second in 18, while its candidates lost their security deposits in 198 constituencies as the party secured 8.41 per cent votes.
However, its candidates did split anti-Lalu votes and were instrumental in defeating NDA in 24 constituencies.
In February 2005, the Congress for the first time forged an alliance with any party for assembly elections although it had fought the 1998, 1999 and 2004 Lok Sabha elections in accord with the state's ruling RJD.
However, the party's vote share has been steadily declining. Contesting the 1998 Lok Sabha elections in tandem with RJD, the Congress secured five seats polling 7.72 per cent votes, which came down to four seats and 4.78 per cent votes in 1999.
In 2004 LS polls, it managed to pocket only three seats polling 4.8 per cent votes.
Also read: Lalu is in the eye of the beholder