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Cong to return Lalu gift

Ranchi, March 5: Close on the heels of the dramatic Congress-RJD poll pact in Bihar yesterday, the grand old party will rejig its seat-sharing maths in Jharkhand as well.

Last year, when Congress and RJD helped JMM stitch a ruling coalition here, the national party and the Sorens brokered a deal where the former would contest in 10 Lok Sabha seats, leaving four for JMM. But now, after RJD chief Lalu Prasad offered 12 seats to the Congress and one to the NCP in Bihar, evidently the Grand Old Party must return the favour in Jharkhand.

State Congress president Sukhdeo Bhagat has been called to Delhi on Sunday for a meeting with Congress high command for a final call on candidates and seat-sharing.

“The scenario will be clear on how many seats the RJD would contest in Jharkhand as an UPA ally. A meeting is slated on Sunday,” Bhagat said.

Though the “10 for Congress and four for the JMM” numbers were clear since last July, when JMM’s Hemant Soren formed a coalition government, RJD’s position in the seat-sharing deal stayed fuzzy. Last year, the RJD camp was more concerned with Lalu’s conviction in the fodder scam.

The RJD now has said the party might finally settle for two seats.

Though Bhagat declined revealing seats which the RJD could be offered, he dropped hints of Palamau. Palamau, an SC seat, is at present held by JMM’s Kameshwar Baitha.