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Jharkhand: Amid seat-sharing talks, RJD says it'll contest Palamu, Chatra

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Ranchi, Apr 1 (PTI) The RJD on Monday announced it would contest the Palamu and Chatra Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand even as the seat-sharing talks are yet to conclude among the INDIA bloc parties.

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State RJD president Sanjay Singh Yadav made the announcement at a press conference.

"We urge the allies of the opposition bloc INDIA that considering the support base of RJD on the two seats, it should be allowed to contest from there," he said.

"The party had prepared to contest four seats in Jharkhand. Keeping in mind the interest of other partners in the bloc, we demand only two out of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in the state," he added.

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On the candidates, Singh said it would be decided when the seat-sharing agreement is finalised.

State minister Satyanand Bhokta, a senior RJD leader, said their demand was nothing new.

"On many previous occasions, the RJD won both the seats and the party has a strong supporters' base there. We have our rights on both the seats and are confident of winning them," he said.

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Asked if he would contest the Lok Sabha polls, Bhokta said the party's national president Lalu Prasad would decide that.

On March 20, Bhokta had declared his candidature from the Chatra Lok Sabha seat.

Meanwhile, the state Congress urged the RJD to refrain from making such unilateral announcements.

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"Congress had contested the Chatra constituency in the previous Lok Sabha polls. The party would again contest from the seat this time," its spokesperson Rakesh Sinha told reporters.

Jharkhand will vote in the Lok Sabha polls in four phases, starting on May 13.

Leaders of the INDIA bloc said a seat-sharing agreement has been finalised for the state. According to it, the Congress would contest seven seats, JMM five, and the RJD and CPI(ML) would fight one seat each.

The Congress has announced candidates for three seats -- Khunti, Lohardaga and Hazaribag, while the CPI(ML) named the candidate for the Koderma seat. PTI SAN SAN SOM

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