NDA Seat-Sharing Deal in Bihar: 17 Each for BJP & JD(U), 6 For LJP
Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Sunday, 23 December, finalised a seat-sharing arrangement for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Bihar, wherein the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) will contest on 17 seats each, while Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) will fight on the remaining six.
BJP President Amit Shah also announced that Paswan, who is a Cabinet minister in the Modi government, will be sent to the Rajya Sabha at the earliest opportunity.
Shah asserted that the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will win more than 31 seats it had in 2014 and expressed confidence that it will come back to power in 2019. Bihar has 40 Lok Sabha seats.
The BJP chief also said all allies will soon decide on distribution of Lok Sabha constituencies among them for fielding their candidates in 2019.
Earlier, Shah had announced that the BJP and its key ally JD(U) will be contesting an equal number of seats in the politically-crucial state.
BJP to Contest Fewer Number of Seats Than in 2014
Notably, the saffron party will now contest on fewer number of seats than it had contested in 2014, when it won 22 of them. The BJP will now have to let go of at least five of its winning seats.
The JD(U), which had fought the 2014 polls independently, and the LJP, which was a BJP ally, had won two and six seats respectively, reported PTI.
Chirag Paswan’s Role in the Deal
The seat-sharing deal was reportedly clinched after Ram Vilas Paswan and his son Chirag met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP President Amit Shah on Thursday, 20 December.
Notably, Chirag Paswan had aired his party’s differences with the BJP earlier, having tweeted that a delay in seat-sharing announcement could harm the ruling alliance.
After the meeting on 20 December, the differences between the two parties had been resolved, reported PTI, citing sources.
On Sunday, 23 December, Ram Vilas Paswan claimed there was never a problem in the alliance as he has nurtured the "NDA tree" for five years under Modi's leadership.
A government under Modi will be formed again, he reportedly said.
The Dalit leader also thanked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who played a role in brokering peace between his party and the BJP.
The BJP’s decision to send Jaitley to smoothen ties with the LJP underscored the saffron party’s move to ensure that its allies stand together. LJP is believed to have a strong influence among Dalit voters.
Tejashwi, Kushwaha Takes a Swipe at BJP Over Seat-Sharing Deal
In the meantime, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav on Sunday, 23 December, took a jibe at the BJP for agreeing to contest only 17 seats in Bihar in the Lok Sabha polls next year, despite having won 22 in the last general election.
The leader of the Opposition in the state assembly also indirectly claimed that the BJP gave in to arm-twisting by CM Nitish Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswan.
The LJP and the JD(U) have reaped the benefit of questioning PM Modi over demonetisation two years after the note ban, Yadav said in a tweet.
Taking a dig at the BJP, Yadav tweeted that despite having achieved power through the back door in Bihar and having 22 sitting MPs, the party agreed to give an equal number of seats to Kumar, who had returned with a tally of only two seats.
"Now you can understand the dire straits the NDA is in," the RJD leader said.
Former NDA ally Upendra Kushwaha of the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) also took a dig at the BJP over the seat-sharing arrangement, saying:
“BJP ke log zyada kehte the ki 56-inch ka seena hai, toh 56-inch ke seena wale natmastak ho gaye Nitish Kumar ji ke saamne, aur aadha-aadha batwara kar diya, kisko kitni seeton pe ladna hai isse janta ko koi matlab nahi hai. (Members of BJP used to talk about the 56-inch chest. The ones having a 56-inch chest have bowed down in front of Nitish Kumar and divided the seats equally between them, the public is not concerned about who is wanting to fight on how many seats.)”Upendra Kushwaha as quoted by ANI
(With inputs from PTI, ANI, The Times of India and ABP News)