Despite several rounds of talks and meetings in the last one month, no decision has been taken by Congress high command, leaving RJD and LJP worried.

"Seat sharing talks have not got finalized and may take more time. But if required, the Congress can contest all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar," Congress leader Sadanand Singh said.

The dilly dallying by Congress vis-a-vis old friends RJD and LJP is giving sleepless nights to RJD stalwart and former chief minister Lalu Prasad and LJP president  Ram Vilas Paswan.

Both Lalu Prasad and Paswan are hoping for a strong alliance to take on BJP which is banking on what it says is a Narendra Modi wave while Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is hoping to lead JD-U to victory.

"A secular alliance of Congress-RJD-LJP should be clear as soon as possible as it will send out a positive massage. Delays are not good," RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh warned.

Raghuvansh Singh said that a Congress-RJD-LJP combine would have a clear edge over both the BJP and the JD-U.

"Uncertainty over the alliance is giving advantage to BJP and JD-U," said LJP leader Pasupati Kumar Paras.

RJD MP Ram Kirpal Yadav said that Lalu Prasad is prepared for "any sacrifice" to bring about the three-party alliance.

"Laluji is ready to sacrifice anything for a secular formation but others are still bargaining," he said, without naming Congress as the guilty party.

Another RJD leader, however, said that seat sharing talks had reached the final stage. "RJD has agreed to contest 20 of the 40 seats, leaving the rest to others," he said.

The source said Congress would put up candidates for 12 seats, LJP for seven and Katihar seat would be left for NCP's Tariq Anwar. But Congress and LJP appear to be demanding more seats for themselves.

At least half a dozen Parliamentary seats are the main bone of contention among Congress, RJD and LJP.

Both RJD and Congress are eyeing Madhubani. RJD legislature party leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui wants to contest from there as he narrowly lost it to BJP in 2009.

Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmad is equally keen to be fielded in Madhubani as he won it in 2004. In the Samastipur (reserved) constituency too, LJP and Congress are at loggerheads.

LJP's Ram Chandra Paswan, brother of Ram Vilas Paswan, and Ashok Kumar of Congress want to contest from the seat.

Other seats that have led to squabbles are Khagaria, Kishanganj, Araria and Ara.

Unlike in 2009, Lalu Prasad appears quite serious in forging an alliance with Congress and LJP.

His aides say he has learnt a bitter lesson since the last Lok Sabha elections when he contemptuously offered only three seats to Congress.

In December, after being released on bail in the fodder scam, Lalu Prasad, who broke his alliance with Congress in 2009, said he would not repeat the mistake this time.

In the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress-RJD-LJP combine won 29 Lok Sabha seats. But fighting separately in 2009, RJD got only four seats, Congress two and LJP none.

(Agencies)

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