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    Bihar’s INDIA Bloc Seals Seat-Sharing Pact: RJD Secures 26 Seats, Congress 9

    The Opposition’s INDIA bloc sealed the seat-sharing deal in Bihar for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

    The Opposition’s INDIA bloc or Mahagathbandhan sealed the seat-sharing deal in Bihar for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The RJD, the Mahagathbandhan’s largest constituent, will field its candidates from 26 seats, including Purnea and Hajipur. The Congress will contest on nine seats, including Kishanganj and Patna Sahib., while the Left will fight on five seats.

    Rahul Gandhi with RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav during the Bihar yatra.(X/Tejashwi Yadav )
    Rahul Gandhi with RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav during the Bihar yatra.(X/Tejashwi Yadav )

    Purnea and Katihar, two seats currently held by the Janata Dal (United), had emerged as the sticking point in seat-sharing talks between the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress for the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar.

    As per the announcement, the Congress has been made to give up the Purnea Lok Sabha seat, which recent entrant Pappu Yadav, husband of Rajya Sabha MP Ranjeet Ranjan, was hoping to contest, claiming that he had received assurance of Congress ticket from Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi.

    The seat will be contested by RJD, which recently gave the party ticket to JD(U) turncoat Bima Bharti, but stopped short of announcing it formally.

    The Mahagathbandhan’s seat-sharing announcement comes a day after the filing of nomination papers for the first phase of Lok Sabha polls was over.

    The RJD has fielded its candidates in all four seats going to polls in the first phase, in what has been resented by allies as a “unilateral move”.

    The Mahagathbandhan press conference in Patna was scheduled to be addressed by RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, who, however, remained conspicuous by his absence.

    RJD national spokesman and Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha, who spoke at the press conference, said names of candidates would be announced soon in seats where the same has not been done already.

    “There are still some issues over the Katihar seat, which the Congress wants. Similarly, the RJD is keen on fighting the Purnea seat even as the Congress is insisting on it. Our party is ready to allot eight to nine seats to the Congress but we cannot give up our claim on Purnea,” a senior RJD leader has earlier said, seeking anonymity.

    The announcement comes days after Tejashwi Yadav dismissed claims of tensions between his party and the Congress and said an understanding over seat sharing for the Lok Sabha polls in Bihar had been reached and an announcement in this regard will be made in Patna soon.

    Tejashwi attended an INDIA bloc meeting regarding Bihar’s seat-sharing formula at Congress leader Mukul Wasnik’s residence in Parna on Tuesday and later said the RJD, the Congress and the Left will fight the Lok Sabha elections together in Bihar.

    He said the INDIA bloc partners have agreed orally on the seat-sharing arrangement and all the constituents are getting a respectable deal.

    His remarks come amid reports of disquiet in the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance in Bihar over seat sharing.

    In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the National Democratic Alliance, comprising the BJP, JD(U) and LJP won 39 seats.

    The first phase of the elections is scheduled for April 19 and Thursday was the last day for filing nominations for the four seats from Bihar that go to the polls in this phase.

    The RJD has already announced candidates for seven constituencies in Bihar.

    Former governor and senior Congress leader Nikhil Kumar expressed his displeasure over the way RJD named Abhya Kushwaha from the Aurangabad parliamentary seat he was keen to contest . “A seat-sharing arrangement is done by taking into confidence all allies in a coalition. But, issuing tickets before a deal is finalised is not correct,” he told a TV channel.

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