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Candidate Swaps and More: Inside Details of Amit Shah-Nitish Kumar’s Seat Sharing Compromise

The BJP and JD(U) have agreed to announce the seat sharing formula at the earliest to allay the prevailing confusion in the ranks and files of both parties.

Alok Kumar | News18dmalok

Updated:July 13, 2018, 11:40 PM IST
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Candidate Swaps and More: Inside Details of Amit Shah-Nitish Kumar’s Seat Sharing Compromise
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar (left) and BJP chief Amit Shah greet each other in Patna on Thursday. (PTI)
Patna: BJP president Amit Shah and Nitish Kumar agreed to announce the seat sharing formula for next year's Lok Sabha elections at the earliest when both the leaders discussed the thorny issue in a closed door meeting held after the dinner hosted by the Bihar Chief Minsiter at his residence in Patna on Thursday, sources told News18.

Not only numbers but distribution of Lok Sabha constituencies among coalition partners would be made public by the first week of September as early announcement would allay prevailing confusion in the ranks and files of both Janata Dal (United) and BJP, sources said.

The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) are the other two alliance partners of NDA in Bihar.

A top JD(U) leader told News18 that both JD(U) and BJP have already done the ground work and broad contours of seat sharing also include swapping of candidates.

Elaborating further he said, “In 2014, many JD(U) leaders defected to BJP and won the election. Now in 2019, winnability will be the key criteria for selecting candidates and while doing so if a particular seat goes to JD(U) and the incumbent BJP MP emerges as the strongest candidate then he or she might be fielded on a JD(U) ticket.”

Amit Shah, it is learnt, gave a patient hearing to Nitish Kumar’s concerns that he had recently raised at JD(U)’s national executive meeting and also while interacting with the media. Both the leaders decided to focus on the strategy to win all forty Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, a JD(U) leader familiar with the discussions told News18.

Selected leaders from the both parties joined their leaders for dinner at Nitish Kumar's official residence at 1, Ane Marg. After eating together, Nitish and Shah decided to have a one-on-one meeting.

When journalists asked JD(U) state president Bashishtha Narayan Singh about the subject of discussion during dinner, he laughingly said, "Food was good. We all enjoyed the delicious cuisine in a good atmosphere." On the one-on-one meeting, he said, "Political issues are bound to come up".

Senior BJP leader Prem Kumar, while coming out after the dinner, ruled out any difficulty in seat sharing and hinted that who will contest how many seats would be made public soon.

State BJP leaders said that Amit Shah is expected to come to Bihar again in the last week of August or in the first week of September.

Earlier, Amit Shah had held a series of meetings with party workers from booth level to the top and made it clear that Nitish Kumar would continue to be a strong partner of BJP in the NDA.

He also dispelled rumours of rift with the JD(U) and suggested RJD-Congress to stop blabbering, saying, “Nitish Kumar is here to stay with us. We know how to handle the concerns of our alliance partners.”

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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