Shedding his discomfort with the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan on Thursday announced that the two parties, along with the Congress, would contest the next Lok Sabha elections jointly in Bihar.
The three parties will now work out a seat sharing, he told PTI.
"The RJD-LJP and the Congress will fight the next Lok Sabha polls together in Bihar. Now the talks among the three parties are only about the number of seats each of us will contest," he said. He dismissed reports in the media about the LJP apprehending losses by aligning with the RJD.
Paswan had earlier said that there are two views within the LJP on whether to align with Lalu Prasad's RJD or Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United and that he had left this decision to the Congress.
On Thursday, he said a view has gradually emerged that "it is this alliance of RJD-LJP and Congress" which can pose a formidable challenge to the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is a "communal force". He met Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday for the second time in the last one month to discuss the issue of poll alliance in Bihar.
LJP sources said later that Paswan told Gandhi that his party will not talk to Lalu Prasad on the issue of seat sharing, reflecting the unease between the two parties.
Paswan accompanied by his son and LJP Parliamentary Board Chairman Chirag Paswan had also made it clear to Gandhi that the LJP, which had contested on 12 Lok Sabha seats, will like to contest on at least 10 seats this time.
Party sources said that the LJP has already given to the All India Congress Committee General Secretary in charge of Bihar C P Joshi a list of 10 seats it wants to contest. It includes nine of the 12 seats the LJP had contested in 2009 where it came second. It had lost all seats.
Prasad had also met Sonia once and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi twice to discuss the alliance.
Image: RJD's Lalu Prasad with LJP chief Ram Vilas Pawan