In a new turn in their tussle, RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Sunday declared his party's intention to field its candidates against the Congress in three seats held by it in Bihar and accused it of trying to "finish" regional parties.
Blowing hot and cold against Congress, Lalu likened Congress' aim of contesting 37 seats in Bihar to build their organisation as "digging a well when one's house is on fire".
Arguing that Congress alone is not UPA, he told reporters "if the name UPA name remains it is good, otherwise some other name can be adopted and some other front will be formed."
In reply to questions, he said there is no plan to ally with the third front. "We are part and parcel of UPA...Its my responsibility to keep the UPA intact and I am ready to make any sacrifice for it."
Lalu also said the UPA will come back to power and that Manmohan is "suitable" for being the Prime Minister again.
Notwithstanding the battle with Congress in Bihar, Lalu said he has "high respect" for Congress President Sonia Gandhi and did not want to involve her in any controversy.
Carrying his fight with Congress which has announced that it will contest 37 of the 40 seats in Bihar, including giving tickets to his estranged brother-in-law Sadhu Yadav, he said RJD will field candidates in Aurangabad, Sasaram and Madhubani -- the three seats held by Congress now.
The war between the UPA allies started with Lalu and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan announcing their plans earlier in the week to contest 37 seats, leaving three to Congress.
Congress hit back saying it would contest 37 seats and will not field candidates in three constituencies -- two being contested by Lalu and one by Paswan.
Ridiculing the Congress, Lalu said its decision to contest 37 seats is an "organisation-building exercise" and added "they are free to field candidates in the remaining three too."
Lalu also said no party, even Congress, has the capability to form government on its own at the Centre.
Asked whether this kind of relationship with Congress will not lead to bitterness, Lalu said "sometimes bitterness is necessary... Bitter medicines are good for health."
Lalu, however, maintained that he will not target Congress during campaigning in Bihar. He also sought to remind people that when Sonia Gandhi was being attacked by the opposition for being a foreigner and even Congressmen were not speaking out, it was "Lalu who had said she is a 'bahu' of India and not a foreigner.
In a veiled attack at Sadhu Yadav joining Congress, he said "principles change overnight" and "nowadays there is politics of 'ayaram gayaram' (party-hopping)".