With the Congress announcing it would contest 26 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Lok Janshkti Party have launched a damage control exercise asking the national party not to do anything that could spoil the UPA's poll prospects in the state.
"I hope Sonia Gandhi will not do anything which weakens the Uniterd Progressive Alliance and strengthens the National Democratic Alliance," Union Minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan told media-persons after holding an hour-long meeting with RJD chief Lalu Prasad last evening.
Paswan's meeting with Prasad took place shortly after Congress announced its decision to go it alone in over 26 seats in Bihar and admitted Lalu Prasad's rebel brother-in-law Sadhu Yadav along with half-a-dozen RJD leaders. The Congress decision to contest the seats in Bihar came two days after RJD and LJP reached a seat sharing accord apportioning among them 25 and 12 seats respectively leaving only three for Congress out of a total of 40 parliamentary constituencies in the state.
Despite Congress's ire at being given one seat less than what in had contested in the 2004 elections, AICC spokesman Abhishek Singhvi, claimed yesterday "our alliance with RJD and LJP is intact" while saying that there was a "deep sense of hurt in the party" over the issue.