'Shatrughan Sinha's name is in the Congress's probable candidates list.'
M I Khan reports from Patna.
Speculation is rife that Shatrughan Sinha, Bollywood veteran and the Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Patna Saheb, will join the Congress and contest the Lok Sabha election from his Lok Sabha seat.
Sinha is expected to join the Congress on March 22 when the Grand Alliance or mahagathbandhan in Bihar will be announced.
"Shatrughan Sinha's name is in the Congress's probable candidates list," a Congress leader in Patna said.
Sinha is close to Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad and his family including former chief minister Rabri Devi and son Tejashwi Yadav.
The BJP MP has described the jailed Lalu Prasad as his 'best friend' and twice met him at the Ranchi jail in the last year.
The BJP has already given indication that it will not field Sinha from Patna Saheb. Instead, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will likely be the party's candidate in Patna Saheb.
Prasad's name was discussed by the BJP's central election committee on March 17, a meeting attended by the party's national President Amit Anilchandra Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi.
Sinha has been critical of the party's leadership, and his being dropped as the BJP candidate from Patna Saheb is no surprise.
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav meanwhile said that seat sharing has been finalised and will be announced after Holi, on March 22.
"The Grand Alliance is intact. We will contest polls together and will defeat the BJP-led NDA in the polls," Tejashwi said.
Tejashwi reiterated that he and his party will not celebrate Holi this year in view of the terror attack in Pulwama in which over 40 Central Reserve Police Force jawan were killed.
According to sources, the Congress may contest 9 out of Bihar's 40 Lok Sabha seats, the RJD 19 while the remaining seats will go to smaller allies.
In Bihar, the Grand Alliance comprises the RJD, the Congress, Upendra Kushwaha's Rashtriya Lok Samta Party, Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustani Awam Morcha and Mukesh Sahni's Vikassheel Insaan Party.
On March 17, three National Democratic Alliance constituents in Bihar -- the BJP, the Janata Dal-United and the Lok Janshakti Party -- announced the names of candidates for the 40 Lok Sabha constituencies.
The BJP and JD-U will contest 17 seats each and the LJP 6.