The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) have firmed up the seat-sharing arrangement for the assembly elections in Bihar in October.
Talks are at an “advanced stage”, party chiefs Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan said in New Delhi on Thursday.
Sources said the LJP would be allocated around 72 of the state’s 243 assembly seats as part of the broad formula being discussed. The remaining 171 would be contested by the RJD.
Prasad and Paswan are likely to make an announcement soon at a joint news conference at New Delhi.
Speculation about the LJP’s possible merger with the Congress were trashed by both Lalu and Paswan. It was “scandalous media speculation”, the RJD chief said.
The LJP chief said, “Koi khichri nahi pak rahi hai (there is nothing suspicious happening).”
RJD leader Ram Kripal Yadav said the polls were still three months away and the “alliance will be through before that”.
The RJD and LJP had jointly fought the last parliamentary elections, contesting 12 and 42 seats, respectively.
Given that each parliamentary seat has approximately six assembly seats, the LJP’s share should be somewhere between 70 and 80 seats, a senior party source said.
LJP sources said there was a “temporary roadblock” qith regard to some seats. The RJD has shown interest in Kesaria, where Prabhunath Singh wants to contest. There is also an RJD demand for Saharsa and Amour, which are difficult for LJP to concede.
Sources said the last few rounds of talks between Lalu Prasad and Paswan in New Delhi were cordial, though the RJD resisted the LJP demand for 90 seats and showed unwillingness to trade a few of the its sitting seats, which the RJD wants.
Thursday’s talks were said to have run into rough weather but at the end of the day, insiders said “things look positive”.
Initially the RJD had offered only 37 seats to the LJP, while the LJP wanted 54 seats.