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Congress to support Left against RJD
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, October 23
In what appeared to be a development with wide political ramifications, the Congress high command is expected to make an official announcement pledging the party's support to the Left and the LJP against the RJD for the coming Lok Sabha by-polls in Bhagalpur and Nalnda.

Bihar Congress spokesman Prem Chandra Mishra told The Tribune today the state unit had already sent a letter to the party high command to officially support the LJP-backed CPM candidate Subodh Ray in Bhagalpur and the CPI candidate Gaya Singh in Nalanda.

The RJD on the other hand has already fielded former state minister and senior party leader Shakuni Chowdhury against CPM`s Subiodh Ray in Bhagalpur and was supporting the dissident JD(U) leader Arun Kumar against the CPI`s Gaya Singh in Nalanda.

Arun Kumar is a close aide of NDA convenor George Fernandes.

The by-elections to Nalanda and Bhagalpur are slated to be held on November 6. These seats were vacated by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi after they were elected to the state legislative council few months ago.

Against the fractured UPA in Nalanda and Bhagalpur, the united NDA has fielded senior JD(U) leader and MLA Ram Swaroop Prasad from Nalanda and senior BJP leader and former union minister Sehnawaj Hussain from Bhagalpur.

Talking to The Tribune, state CPM secretary Vijay Kant Thakur said the run up to the Bhagalpur and Nalanda by-polls was expected to witness the consolidation and emergence of the Left and secular forces, including the Congress, in state politics as an alternative to the NDA.

Mr Thakur charged the RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav with betraying the CPM and other Left forces despite them supporting him in the RJD's hours of crisis. "We had won Bhagalpur defeating the BJP in 1999 and were runners up in the 2004 polls. But despite this the RJD put up a candidate against us," Mr Thakur said.

Mr Thakur further alleged that the RJD had betrayed the CPM in particular in the past which was evident from the killing of party leader Ajit Sarkar by the RJD leader Pappu Yadav, who later became an MP. Pappu Yadav was now lodged in Tihar jail.



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