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Barely three weeks to go before the start of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) today (Friday, March 22) announced their seat-sharing agreement in Bihar.

Other parties that have joined the grand alliance or the mahagathbandhan in the state are Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and Mukesh Sahni’s Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP).

The RLSP and the HAM were earlier part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

The RJD, led by former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, will contest from 20 out of 40 seats in the state, while the Congress will contest from nine seats. The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI M-L) will contest from one seat from the RJD quota.

RLSP will contest five seats, and the HAM and VIP will contest three seats each. HAM leader and former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi would contest from Gaya.

Former Janata Dal (United) (JD-U) leader and now Loktantrik Janata Dal chief Sharad Yadav will contest on a RJD ticket, ANI reported.

Sharad Yadav agreed to merge his Loktantrik Dal with the RJD after the Lok Sabha election, RJD spokesperson Manoj Jha said at a press conference in Patna this afternoon.

Earlier on Wednesday, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav had said that  The grand-alliance of opposition parties in Bihar is intact and its candidates for all the 40 seats in the state will be announced after Holi.

“Mahaghatbandhan is a natural alliance… it is to save the Constitution,” said RJD spokesperson Manoj Kumar Jha.

Earlier, a Congress leader was reported to have said, “In Bihar, the problem was not really of seat-sharing but division of seats—who will contest which seat. That seems to be over now. We wanted to wait till Holi for the final announcement.”

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