Millennium Post

Bihar alliance 'almost' sealed

New Delhi: In a major development that may give Congress a reason to 'feel happy', the seat-sharing agreement between grand alliance members in Bihar has been 'almost finalised'.

According to party insiders, the Congress is likely to contest 11 seats in the state, while regional satrap Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) would get 20 seats out of total 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state. The remaining nine seats would be shared among other partners of the Mahagadbandhan such as Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), which is headed Upendra Kushwaha, and Jitan Ram Manjhi led Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and two others.

While talking to Millennium Post, AIIC state in-charge of Bihar Shaktisinh Gohil said, "All the constituents of Grand Alliance had a healthy discussion over seat sharing formula on Wednesday. All of the alliance partners agreed on the formula that was decided during the meeting. There is no confusion over the seat sharing."

Gohil further said that the final decision in this regard would be announced on Sunday (March 17). "Not only seat arrangements, we also discussed about the probable names of winnable candidates too. There were some disagreement among partners over a few seats and we are hopeful that it would be sorted out soon," Gohil said, adding that all parties in the Grand Alliance would be given full respect and the decision would be announced in the next few days.

According to sources, Congress has even finalised names of its candidates. Congress is likely to field Nikhil Kumar from Aurangabad, the parliamentary constituency which was represented by Sushil Kumar Singh of the BJP.

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar may contest from Sasaram Lok Sabha seat, sitting MP Ranjeet Ranjan would again be fielded from Supaul seat, Tariq Anwar, who had switched his side from NCP, would be fielded from Katihar Lok Sabha constituency, etc.

The general election is scheduled to begin on April 11 and will continue till May 19. Polling on the different seats will be held in Bihar in seven phases.

The Mahagathbandhan comprises old allies like the Congress and the RJD, besides new entrants such as RLSP, HAM, Sharad Yadav's Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) and the Vikashsheel Insaan Party (VIP), an outfit floated by former Bollywood set designer Mukesh Sahni.

The RJD had fought 27 seats in the 2014 general elections, though it managed to win only four. Meanwhile, in a major blow to the Opposition's bid to bring BSP to its side, the party headed by Mayawati has rejected the RJD's offer to join the alliance. As per the sources, the BSP has decided to contest all 40 seats in the state.

The BSP's decision came around two months after RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav met Mayawati at her residence in Lucknow, wished her on her birthday and sought her blessings. "BSP has decided to contest on all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar with its complete strength," a party leader said, adding that the party has identified 10 crucial seats on the basis of social equations and proximity to Uttar Pradesh and is paying special attention to these constituencies.

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