–Congress, RJD seat sharing pact for Bihar likely soon
–RJD agrees to give Congress 13 seats, NCP 1 seat in Bihar

NEW DELHI – After days of hectic parleys and hard nosed bargaining, the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal are understood to have reached a seat-sharing pact for Bihar, with Lalu Prasad’s party agreeing to leave 13 seats for the former in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

A formal announcement by the parties on the alliance could come as early as today.

According to sources from both the parties, the RJD chief softened his stand after detailed discussions with the senior Congress leadership today. He left one seat for the Nationalist Congress Party.

Discussions between Congress and RJD had hit a roadblock as RJD was willing to concede only 11 seats to the Congress and one to NCP, while the Congress wanted to field candidates from 13 seats.

Moreover, there were differences over the constituencies as well. While, Lalu Prasad wanted Madhubani, the Congress leadership was in no mood to give away the seat. There were reports that Congress General Secretary Shakeel Ahmad was keen to contest from Madhubani.

With the alliance, the Congress hopes to resurrect itself in a state that sends 40 parliamentarians to Delhi. The state features prominently in Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi’s plans for the party. Both RJD and Congress received a blow when Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP decided to enter into an electoral alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress-RJD-LJP alliance had bagged 29 out of 40 seats.

In 2009, after the break-up of Congress-RJD-LJP alliance, RJD got only four seats, the Congress two and the LJP none.

Paswan was unhappy with seat-sharing talks with the RJD and the Congress. The BJP has not only given Paswan seven seats to contest from but also let his party contest from seats of its choice.

The LJP had earlier allied with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, but had quit the alliance after the 2002 Godhra riots.

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