The opposition Grand Alliance in Bihar has agreed to give as many as four seats to former union minister Upendra Kushwaha's Rashtriya Lok Samata Party in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, double the number it was offered by the BJP-led NDA, a senior party leader claimed on Wednesday.
The RLSP leader, who requested anonymity, said the deal has been finalized after Mr Kushwaha's recent meeting with RJD chief Lalu Yadav at Ranchi followed by negotiations with the Congress both of which are major constituents of the Grand Alliance.
The opposition coalition in Bihar also comprises former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustani Awam Morcha.
A formal announcement will be made for all seats, to be fought by respective Grand Alliance constituents, after January 14 when the inauspicious month of Kharmaas comes to an end. But we can confirm that the RLSP has been given Karakat, which is the sitting seat of Mr Kushwaha, apart from Motihari and Gopalganj, the RLSP leader said.
He said senior leader Dasai Chaudhary is likely to be the candidate from Gopalganj while the party's national general secretary and chief spokesman Madhaw Anand may contest from Motihari.
Notably, Mr Anand was given the charge of organizing the party's open convention in Motihari last month where Mr Kushwaha had declared a war on the NDA leadership a few days ahead of announcing his resignation from the Union Council of Ministers and severing of ties with the BJP-led coalition in New Delhi.
"Besides, we are negotiating for the fourth seat which will be contested by our sitting MP from Sitamarhi Ram Kumar Sharma. He had initially expressed the desire to fight from some other constituency following which Kushwaha had settled down for Ujiyarpur, but of late Sharma has begun to have second thoughts," the RLSP leader said.
We had also expressed the desire, initially, to have Jehanabad, which was contested and won by our party in 2014.
But we later gave up the idea. We hope to get one more seat in the neighbouring Jharkhand, he added.
Jehanabad is represented by Arun Kumar, who was suspended from the RLSP more than two years ago following which he has floated his own outfit. Kumar struck a few sympathetic notes for Kushwaha when the latter went on a collision course with the NDA but the two have not patched up and, it is believed, his fledgling party may become yet another constituent of the Grand Alliance.
A seat is Jharkhand is being demanded for Kushwaha's close aide and RLSP working president Nagmani.
The RLSP has suffered many fissures upon its exit from NDA in protest against the coalition's failure to heed its demand for a respectable share of seats and alleged attempts by Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar to poach its legislators.
The party, which came into being in 2013 when Mr Kushwaha walked out of the JD(U), has two members in the legislative assembly and one in the council. Both of them have declared their intention to remain in the NDA amid intentions to move the Election Commission seeking recognition as the real RLSP.
RLSP's national vice-president and former minister Bhagwan Singh Kushwaha joined the JD(U) last week.