Special Correspondent

New Delhi: Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP) president Ram Vilas Paswan said on Tuesday the allotment of seats to the Congress in Bihar was a matter betwen Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad and the Congress.

“We tried to talk to the Congress on several occasions, even as late as on March 14 and were told that they would settle it with the RJD and we should talk about our seats directly with Mr. Prasad. We wanted 16 seats but agreed on 12,” Mr. Paswan said about the agreement reached with the RJD here.

Asked if he would give up some seats for the Congress, he said there was no scope for reducing their quota. Sources, however, said that the LJP might have given up Nalanda, an erstwhile JD(U) constituency and hometown of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, if it had been given some other constituency. Expressing the hope that the UPA would repeat its 2004 performance, Mr. Paswan said they had decided to come together in the national interest. “We have nothing to do with the Third Front,” both the leaders said.

Of the four constituencies from where it had contested in 2004, the Congress had won Aurangabad, Madhubani and Sasaram seats. It had lost from Begusarai.

This time round the Congress had initially demanded 11 seats, but was ready to settle for six. Because of delimitation, some of the seats that the Congress sought were of RJD leaders. Mr. Prasad said earlier that Tariq Anwar, the candidate of the NCP — which was not allotted a seat — was already a Rajya Sabha member and asserted that anybody who had held any talks with Raj Thackeray would have no place in UPA.

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