Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Manoj Jha weighed in on the future of Congress in the 2024 Lok Sabha Polls, stating that it was necessary for the grand-old party to tie up with regional forces for the general elections. Speaking exclusively to Republic TV after the split in the Bihar Mahagatbandhan, Manoj Jha said that the Congress was capable of fighting only 200 seats on its own and when it came to several states, it needed the support of regional parties to take down BJP.
"I will say something very simple. Around 200-225 seats are there where Congress is capable of fighting the BJP alone. Rest, they need strong regional parties. They should exchnage driving seats between each other," he said.
The RJD leader suggested that Congress contest the 2024 polls based on issues, and not field any prominent face like Rahul Gandhi against PM Narendra Modi. He told Republic TV, "Congress is a big national party. I have said this a hundred times, we have seen person-based political campaigning in the form of Narendra Modi. We are against this, even Rahul Gandhi should not engage in this. All should sit, and decide a face. Issues are important, not people. PM Narendra Modi should be shown the mirror on his own promises. I feel the face will emerge when we decide on our model in 2024. Even Rahul Gandhi does not want a person-based campaign."
Meanwhile, after the Congress announced its decision to go solo in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls amid rifts with the RJD, Manoj Jha said that it would not break the union from their side until they heard an official word from the central leadership. "Congress central leadership, the relation between Sonia Ji and Lalu ji is strong. He stood with her when no one did. We are not going to add value to what others say until we hear from the central leadership," he said.
The differences between RJD and Congress came to the fore after ex-JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar switched allegiance to Congress. The RJD has been at loggerheads with Kumar over his decision to contest from Begusarai in the 2019 General election despite the former fielding a strong candidate. This led to the downfall of both RJD and Congress and BJP leader and Union Minister Giriraj Singh was re-elected from the seat.
Following the rough patch, the RJD has now refused to let Congress contest from Kusheshwar Asthan which goes to polls on October 22. The Congress, in turn, has decided to field its candidates on both Kusheshwar Asthan and Tarapur which has further upset the Lalu Prasad-led party.