NCP general secretary D P Tripathi Saturday said Katihar Lok Sabha seat in Bihar is not the "jagir" (fiefdom) of Tariq Anwar, who had won from that constituency on NCP ticket but joined the Congress last year. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has only one Lok Sabha seat in Bihar - Katihar - and a seat belongs to a party and not any individual, Tripathi told reporters here.
"Only one seat is with us (in Bihar). Both the parties will decide on it. But the Congress has to decide whether or not it wants to grab our seat. I say this with a strong feeling that NCP's seat is not Tariq Anwar's jagir," he said. Anwar, on his part, left the decision on the Congress.
"The party will decide," he said when asked from where he would contest in Bihar. In Bihar, the Congress is a constituent of the Grand Alliance along with the RJD and other parties like the RLSP and HAM(S) and the NCP is not a part of it.
The "mahagatbandhan" is scheduled to announce its seat sharing on Monday. A former president of Congress' Bihar unit, Anwar formed the NCP in the 1990s along with Pawar and the late P A Sangma, opposing Sonia Gandhi taking over as AICC president on grounds of her foreign origin. The party later allied with the Congress at the national level and also in Maharashtra.
Anwar had quit the NCP and Lok Sabha membership in September last year and joined the Congress a month later. Both Tripathi and Anwar came here to meet RJD president Lalu Prasad.
Prasad is serving sentence in fodder scam cases in Jharkhand and is currently lodged in a paying ward of the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences here because of illness. Asked whether he placed the NCP's claim for Katihar seat before Prasad, Tripathi said he did. "But it is not courteous to insist now as he is not well," Tripathi said.
Anwar said he only enquired about Prasad's health and "we were very happy to meet each other". Speaking on Bihar, Tripathi said, "You will get good news before Holi. This belief deepened after meeting Lalu-ji".
"Lalu-ji is a towering figure in Bihar and at the ground level, his son Tejeshwi Yadav is leading and will do so in future," the NCP leader said. On Jharkhand, he said, "The NCP will not contest in Jharkhand in Lok Sabha polls. But will definitely contest the next Assembly elections in the state. So, we will support a democratic alliance in Jharkhand without any condition." PTI PVR NN NN.