- RJD will contest 19 seats, Congress 9, Upendra Kushwaha's party 5 seats
- Senior leaders of the Congress were conspicuous by their absence
- Misa Bharti, daughter of Lalu Yadav would contest from Pataliputra
Amid reports of a rift over seats, the opposition mahagathbandhan (alliance) in Bihar today announced its seat-share pact and candidates for next month's national election. The pact is "unbreakable", said RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, rubbishing reports of a breakdown in talks with the Congress.
The RJD or Rashtriya Janata Dal will contest 19 seats, Congress nine and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) of Upendra Kushwaha - who quit the BJP-led alliance in December - will contest five. As Tejashwi Yadav made the announcement, senior leaders of the Congress were conspicuous by their absence.
The Congress has in its share Patna Sahib, the seat of Shatrughan Sinha, who announced yesterday that he would quit the BJP and join the Congress. The BJP had snubbed Mr Sinha, a relentless in-house critic of the party leadership, and named Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for the seat. The actor-turned-politician is expected to now fight as a Congress candidate.
Tejashwi Yadav, the younger son of jailed RJD chief Lalu Yadav, said his sister Misa Bharti would contest from Pataliputra, where she lost to former Lalu Yadav loyalist-turned-BJP leader Ram Kripal Yadav in 2014. His brother Tej Pratap Yadav's father-in-law Chandrika Rai will contest from Saran. Mr Rai's name may upset Tej Pratap, who has filed for divorce in less than a year of marriage. Tej Pratap quit a party post last evening.
Sharad Yadav, a former leader of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United), will contest from Madhepura. Sharad Yadav was expelled from the JD(U) for objecting to Nitish Kumar's decision to dump the RJD and revive ties with the BJP.
Bihar, which has 40 Lok Sabha seats, will vote in all seven phases of the national election to be held between April 11 and May 19. The results will be announced on May 23.