New Delhi: Until a week ago, the Bihar Mahagathbandhan formation comprising the RJD, Congress, Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha and Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party was a formidable block to challenge the BJP-JD(U)-LJP front.
Now, the Mahagathbandhan has reached a breaking point with contention over Madhubani and Darbhanga seats. Both the RJD and the Congress are not willing to concede these two important seats of Mithilanchal as four heavyweights are vying for tickets from these two seats—while new entrant in the Congress fold Kirti Jha Azad, who is also the sitting MP from Darbhanga and left the BJP recently, wants to contest from no other place than his current seat, four-time RJD MP Ali Ashraf Fatmi considers Darbhanga seat as his birthright as he has been winning and losing against Kirti intermittently so if Mahagathbandhan happens, it will have to be either Kirti or Fatmi.
Another big hinderance is Madhubani seat, the home constituency of Congress leader Shakeel Ahmad. From Madhubani, key RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui has contested unsuccessfully in 2009 and 2014. He lost to BJP candidate Hukumdev Narayan Yadav. However, Shakeel Ahmad represented Madhubani in Lok Sabha twice _ 1998 and 2004. This time, he is in no mood to concede his home constituency to the RJD. Here again, if Mahagathbandhan happens it could be either Abdul Bari Siddiqui or Shakeel Ahmad.
For the Congress, Kirti Jha is a hope to revive the party in Mithilanchal which used to be its tradition vote pocket. Ali Ashraf Fatmi is too big a leader in the RJD to be denied a ticket over an alliance. In Madhubani, the fight from the key Mithila region is a personal issue between the two old friends from different parties—Siddiqui and Shakeel.
In all probability, all four top leaders from Mithilanchal– Kirti Jha, Ali Ashraf Fatmi, Shakeel Ahmed and Abdul Bari Siddiqui –would contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, however, it would be interesting to see from where. And, that may kill Mahagathbandhan.