New Delhi: With just a few days left for the Jharkhand Assembly elections, the Congress on Thursday stitched an alliance with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), news agency ANI reported. A formal announcement in this regard will be made on November 8.

The major development comes just two days ahead of the meeting of the Congress Election Committee (CEC) which will be held on November 9 at the residence of Sonia Gandhi to discuss the names of the candidates.

The decision to stitch the alliance comes as the Election Commission of India on November 1 announced a 5-phase poll for 81-member Jharkhand Assembly election from November 30.

As per the EC notification, the date of polling for the first phase is November 30, second phase polling will take place on December 7. The third, fourth and fifth phases of polling will take place on December 12, 16 and 19, respectively.

According to the EC, the polling in the first phase will take place in 13 Assembly seats such as Chatra, Gumla, Vishunpur, Lohardagga, Manika, Latehar, Panki, Daltanganj, Vishrampur, Chatarpur, Harwah, Hussainabad and Bhavanathpur.

The EC had notified that the counting of votes will take place on December 23. The Congress has stitched the alliance with the JMM and the RJD as Chief Minister Raghubar Das-led BJP is hoping to retain power in the state once again.

The EC earlier had said that the last date for filing of nomination papers will be November 13 and for withdrawing nominations is November 16. However, no political party has announced candidates for the first phase of polling so far.

In 2014 state assembly elections, the BJP had won 37 seats, while its ally All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) won only five.

Meanwhile, the EC has appointed former Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer B Murali Kumar as Special Expenditure Observer for Jharkhand. He was appointed Special Expenditure Observer for 8-Vellore Parliamentary Constituency and for the recently concluded Assembly elections in Maharashtra.

(With inputs from IANS)