After much dillydallying and days of hectic deliberations, RJD and Congress Friday announced a seat-sharing pact in Bihar for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. Of the 40 seats in Bihar, RJD will contest in 19 seats, while Congress will contest in nine seats.
The other key parties who are contesting under the banner of Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) are—CPI-ML (1), RLSP (5), VIP (3) and HAM-S (3). The Congress had been insisting it be given 11 seats, however, it seems to have conceded seats to the Lalu Prasad Yadav-led party.
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Announcing the seat-sharing pact, RJD spokesman Manoj Jha said former JD(U) president Sharad Yadav will be contesting on an RJD symbol and merge his party Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) with it after the Lok Sabha polls,
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In addition, the list of candidates contesting in the first phase has been announced. Bihar will witness a seven-phase polling for its 40 Lok Sabha seats. The polls will start with the first phase on April 11 and will end on May 19 when the seventh and last phase will be held.
The biggest takeaway from the Grand Alliance’s much-awaited announcement is RJD accommodating one of the Left parties – CPI (ML) in the alliance. This is the first time RJD has entered into an alliance with CPI-ML. CPI, which had been also trying to get Begusarai seat alliance with the Grand Alliance, however, was not considered because of RJD’s reservation against Kanhaiya Kumar.
Bihar is crucial for the Opposition bid to upstage the BJP from the power. Apart from Bihar, the Congress has so far managed seat-sharing pacts in only Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Jharkhand.