Opposition Finalises Seat-Sharing In Bihar, 1 Constituency To See Friendly Fight

While the RJD has got 26 seats, the Congress will contest nine and the Left parties five.

Opposition Finalises Seat-Sharing In Bihar, 1 Constituency To See Friendly Fight

Both the Congress and the RJD will be putting up candidates in the Purnea seat.

New Delhi:

After some consternation over the Rashtriya Janata Dal unilaterally announcing the names of candidates for the four constituencies going to polls in the first phase, the opposition Mahagathbandhan, or Grand Alliance, in Bihar has finalised seat-sharing for the Lok Sabha elections. One constituency will still, however, witness a friendly fight between Lalu Yadav's RJD and the Congress, who are also allies in the INDIA bloc. 

The RJD, which had not won a single seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, will contest from 26 of Bihar's 40 seats while the Congress has got nine and the Left parties have been left with five - three for the CPIML and one each for CPI and CPM. Seat-sharing talks, which were expected to be much easier since Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United returned to the NDA fold, turned out to be protracted, but a resolution has finally been achieved. 

At a press conference on Friday, RJD Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha, who was flanked by leaders from the Congress and other parties, said, "We have arrived at a unanimous decision and we will win".

Experts said, however, that the Congress has not been able to drive a hard bargain, as is evidenced by seats like Purnea, Supaul and Madhepura going in the RJD's kitty. Jan Adhikar Party (Loktantrik) chief Pappu Yadav had merged his party with the Congress last week and was slated to be nominated from the Purnea Seat, while his wife Ranjeet Ranjan won from the Supaul seat in 2014 as a Congress candidate and had contested from there in 2019. 

NDTV spoke to Mr Yadav, who has said that he will be filing his nomination as a Congress candidate from Purnea, and the RJD has all but finalised new entrant Bima Bharti, who joined the party from the JDU, as its candidate. The stage is, thus, set for a friendly fight in the constituency.

The CPI will be contesting from Begusarai, where it had fielded former JNU Students' Union president Kanhaiya Kumar last time. Mr Kumar is now with the Congress.

Bihar will be crucial for the INDIA alliance as it sends the fourth highest number of MPs to the Lok Sabha and 39 of the 40 seats had been won by the NDA in 2019. The remaining seat went to the Congress. The opposition alliance was jolted earlier this year after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar switched sides yet again and went back to the NDA, but it is still seen to be in a stronger position in the state than it was during the last elections. 

The state will vote in all seven phases of the upcoming elections which will begin on April 19 and end on June 1, with the counting taking place on June 4.