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Lalu, Paswan strike a deal

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TOGETHER AGAIN: Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad and Lok Jan Shakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan are all smiles after reaching the seat-sharing accord in New Delhi on Tuesday.
TOGETHER AGAIN: Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad and Lok Jan Shakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan are all smiles after reaching the seat-sharing accord in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Gargi Parsai

In Bihar, RJD to contest 25 seats, LJP 12; Congress given a mere three

NEW DELHI: Ending days of uncertainty, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Prasad and Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday finalised here a seat-sharing agreement for the Lok Sabha elections in Bihar, giving themselves the lion’s share and leaving a paltry three seats for the Congress which left the party fuming.

Under the pact, the RJD would contest 25 seats and the LJP 12 seats of the total 40 in the State. The Congress got three seats of its sitting MPs as part of the UPA seat pre-poll alliance in the State. No seat was given to the Nationalist Congress Party.

“The RJD and LJP have reached an agreement to fight the elections together in Bihar. RJD will contest in 25 and LJP in 12. We have left the remaining seats to Congress which is their rightful share,” Mr. Lalu Prasad said at a press conference here with Mr. Paswan . There was no Congress leader on the dais. Asked if the Congress was upset with the arrangement, he said his brother-in-law Sadhu Yadav (who has been denied a ticket) was also upset and added that action would be taken against rebels.

Although Mr. Prasad said they were with the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance and would remain so, the seat-sharing arrangement raised eyebrows and triggered off a major controversy with the Congress announcing that it would put up candidates on “much, much more seats.” In the 2004 elections, the RJD had contested 26 seats in Bihar while the LJP had put up candidates in eight constituencies. The Congress had contested four parliamentary constituencies and the remaining two were contested by the NCP and CPI.

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