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'Mahagathbandhan' announces seat-sharing formula in Bihar

Mahagathbandhan announces seat-sharing formula in Bihar

New Delhi: Finally, Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) made it official its seat-sharing formula on Friday.

Interestingly, top leaders like Tejashwi Yadav, Upendra Kushwaha, Sharad Yadav and Jitan Ram Manjhi gave a miss to the much-awaited press conference to announce the seat-sharing pact and it was announced by state leaders of alliance partners only.

As it was first reported by the Millennium Post that Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) --- the key constituent of the Grand Alliance --- would get lion's share, so Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD will contest on 20 seats out of total 40 seats and Congress has settled with nine seats in the state.

While talking to reporters in Patna, RJD national spokesperson Manoj Jha and RJD state president Ram Chandra Purve said that former JD(U) president and NDA convener Sharad Yadav will be contesting on an RJD symbol and merge his party Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) with it after the Lok Sabha polls.

Recent entrants to the Mahagathbandhan Upendra Kushwaha's Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) and Mukesh Sahni's Vikasheel Insan Party (VIP) will field their candidates on five and three seats respectively, while former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM) has been given three seats, including Aurangabad, which was once represented by former governor Nikhil Kumar.

Leaders of all the alliance partners of the Mahagathbandhan, including Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) president Madan Mohan Jha was also present at the press conference.

The candidates were also announced for the Lok Sabha seats that would go to polls in the first phase, for which filing of nominations will end on March 25 and votes will be cast on April 11. In the first phase, the polls would be held on Gaya, Nawada, Aurangabad and Jamui seats.

The Mahagadbandhan candidates for all the four seats are Jitan Ram Manjhi from Gaya, Vibha Devi, the wife of RJD's notorious leader Raj Ballabh Yadav who is serving a jail term for raping a minor, Upendra Rai from Aurangabad and Bhudev Choudhary from Jamui seat.

In the first phase, the HAM will contest on two seats --- Gaya and Aurangabad – out of its total share of three seats, while RLSP would contest on one – Jamui – out of its total share of five seats and RJD on one --- Nawada -- out of 20 seats.

As per sources, the seat-sharing pact was delayed as Congress and HAM had locked their horns over Aurangabad seat. Notably, former Delhi Police Commissioner Nikhil Kumar had represented Aurangabad Lok Sabha seat in 2004 on the Congress ticket.

The NDA is likely to field its sitting MP Sushil Kumar Singh from Aurangabad, Veena Devi from Nawada, Chirag Paswan from Jamui.

While announcing the seat-sharing decision, Bihar RJD chief Ram Chandra Purve said, "CPI(ML) will contest one seat from the RJD quota. Five seats have been allocated to the RLSP and three to VIP and HAM(S) respectively. Jitan Ram Manjhi will contest from Gaya."

On being asked 'how can you say' 'all is well' when your leader (Tejashwi Yadav) doesn't come, RJD spokesperson Manoj Jha said, "Am I nothing in my party? You are making me insignificant? If format changes at the last moment, it's a party's decision, do not question that."

RJD leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav had on Wednesday said that Bihar's Mahagathbandhan' is intact, rubbishing rumours that all was not well in the 'grand alliance'.

He had called it "a union of hearts and not just of parties (dalon ka nahin, dilon ka gathbandhan hai). "There is no heartburn among the alliance partners," he had averred.

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