The Congress sealed a seat-sharing pact with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Janata Dal (U) on Saturday and also released its first list of candidates for the five-phase state assembly elections in Jharkhand beginning November 25.
The agreement is on the lines of the three parties' grand alliance for the assembly by-polls in Bihar held in August, in which the combine fared impressively. This would be the first time the Congress will be fighting elections in Jharkhand without a local partner.
According to senior Congress leader BK Hariprasad, of the state's 81 seats, his party would contest 66, the RJD 10 and the JD (U) the remaining five. A formal announcement of the seat-sharing formula is expected on Sunday.
The party also announced the names of its first 14 candidates for the elections.
In 2005, the Congress had aligned with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and had together won 26 seats, while in elections four years later the party went with the Babulal Marandi-led Jharkhand Vikas Morcha. The alliance bagged 25 seats.
This time, the Congress broke off its alliance with the JMM following differences over seat sharing.
The new alliance forged on Saturday seemed to make the RJD happy.
RJD state president Girinath Singh, who filed his nomination for the Garhwa seat on Friday, expressed the confidence that the party would double its number of seats from the current five to 10 after these polls.
Rivals, however, took a dig at the Congress saying that the party doesn't even have enough candidates to field in all the 66 seats in intends to contest.
The names of candidates Congress announced on Saturday: Rajesh Ranjan will contest from Mahagama, Dr Sarfaraj Ahmed from Gandey, Rajendra Prasad Singh from Bermo, Mannan Mallick from Dhanbad, Banna Gupta from Jamshedpur West, Geetashree Oraon from Sisai, Vinod Kispotta from Gumla, Boby Bhagat from Bishunpur, Sukhdeo Bhagat from Lohardaga, Muneshwar Oraon from Manika, Videsh Singh from Panki, KN Tripathy from Daltonganj, Ajay Dubey from Vishrampur and Anant Pratap Dev from Bhavnathpur.