After months of uncertainty, the RJD and Congress finally stitched up an alliance in Bihar with NCP as a third ally, agreeing to contest 27, 12 and one seat respectively in the Lok Sabha polls.
The coming together of the two parties---RJD had snapped a poll pact with the Congress before 2009 general elections---is likely to improve their prospects.
While the RJD would be better equipped to take on both BJP and JD (U) by gaining votes among Rajput OBC, EBC and dalit communities, the Congress is likely to gain from the former's influence among Muslims and Yadavs.
It was learnt the deadlock over seat sharing broke after Prasad agreed to cede Muzaffarpur seat to the Congress, in addition to the 11 seats – Aurangabad, Kishanganj, Sasaram, Nalanda, Purnia, Patna Saheb, Supaul, Hajipur, Samastipur and Valmiki Nagar – offered earlier.
HT Edit | Lok Sabha polls: Congress and RJD need each other
Indications of the agreement appeared on Tuesday when Kerala governor Nikhil Kumar resigned from the post. Kumar is a probable Congress candidate from Aurangabad, which has been offered by RJD in seat sharing.
Earlier, when differences over seat sharing grew sharper, a section of the Congress leaders had suggested a tie-up with JD-U, believing the alliance could work better after Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP joined the NDA.
Observers, however, believe Lalu Prasad would be a bigger gainer, arguing he won 30% vote share when he went with Congress in 2004, compared with the latter's 4.50%.
After quitting Congress in 2009, RJD vote share dropped to 19.31%, while Congress's jumped to 10%.