The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) will contest on 20 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, the Grand Alliance announced at a press conference on Friday.
As part of its seat-sharing pact, the Congress will contest on 9 seats, Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) on 3, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) on 5, Vikasshil Insan Party (VIP) on 3 and Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist (CPI-ML) on one seat out of RJD quota.
The RLSP is led by Upendra Kushwaha, HAM by former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and VIP by Mukesh Sahni.
Addressing the media, RJD Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha said that former Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav will contest on a RJD symbol.
Yadav, a heavyweight in Bihar politics, will contest from Madhepura. According to reports, he will later merge his pocket organisation Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) with the RJD after Lok Sabha elections.
The four constituencies going to polls in the first phase will see the HAM contesting on Gaya and Aurangabad, the RJD on Nawada and the RLSP on Jamui. Manjhi will contest from Gaya (Reserved) and Upendra Prasad from Aurangabad.
The RJD has fielded Vibha Devi from Nawada and the RLSP Bhudeo Choudhary from Jamui.
Interestingly, the Grand Alliance did not leave anything for either CPI or CPI-M. This means that former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar, who is contesting from Begusarai, will not be supported by the Grand Alliance.
Congress state President Madan Mogan Jha as well as leaders of RLSP, HAM and VIP were with Jha at the press conference.
In 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA won 31 seats, out of which the BJP alone bagged 22. The JD(U) contested alone then and won only Purnea and Nawada seats. The RJD won 4 seats, the Congress 2 and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) 1. But NCP’s Tariq Anwar has rejoined the Congress.
Elections in Bihar will be held on all seven phases between 11 April and 19 May.