JD(U) Says BJP Has Given a ‘Good Deal’ on Seat Sharing for 2019, But Not All Allies Like the Latest Formula
Nitish Kumar's party said it would either contest equal amount of seats or one less than the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar (left) and BJP chief Amit Shah greet each other in Patna. (PTI File photo)
Patna: Confusion among Bihar NDA allies over seat sharing for the Lok Sabha elections persisted with Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) reiterating on Tuesday it had negotiated a good deal with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but Upendra Kushwaha's RLSP and Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party categorically denied any final understanding on the issue.
LJP parliamentary party leader Chirag Paswan told News18 that no final talks on seat sharing have taken place with the BJP. "Two-three weeks back, BJP leader Bhupendra Yadav had started informal talks on seat sharing. However, it was stalled and we are waiting to resume discussion on this issue. I can't comment on news reports regarding what has transpired between the JD(U) and the BJP.”
Another ally RLSP also toed the line of LJP as its national general secretary Madhaw Anand told News18 that what JD(U) has said does not matter unless the BJP, being the largest ally, formally presents any formula on the negotiating table.
But Anand made it clear that his party won't accept two seats under any formula. "We won three out of three seats in 2014 and our party has expanded its base since then. So there is no question of agreeing on two seats," he added.
On the other hand, a close associate of Nitish Kumar, reiterated that his party would either contest equal amount of seats or one less than the BJP in 2019.
“JD(U) has nothing to do with how many seats have been spared for RLSP and LJP. BJP has to deal with them. Whatever seats are left after accommodating them would be divided equally between BJP and JD(U). If leftover seats is an odd number then it will go to the BJP," he said.
He indicated if Kushwaha takes a different path then his two seats would be distributed among BJP and JD(U).
Going by JD(U)'s assertion, it appears BJP is ready to sacrifice more than two seats it won in 2014. According to the earlier 20-20 formula, the BJP, JD(U), LJP and RLSP were supposed to contest 20, 13, 5 and 2 seats respectively. The BJP won 22 out of 30 seats it contested in 2014.
However, Upendra Kushwha has throughout maintained that he will not accept two seats and would demand more than three, the number it contested in 2014. RLSP argues that it backed Narendra Modi as Prime Ministerial candidate when Nitish Kumar left the NDA and after his return to the fold it was BJP's responsibility to take care of their allies.
The party had directly blamed Nitish Kumar for creating confusion over seat sharing when he announced on September 16, while addressing party men in Patna, that he had sealed a Sammanjanak (respectful) deal with the BJP over seat sharing.
When asked about the latest murmuring on seat sharing, state BJP spokesman Nikhil Anand said his party is determined to ensure a second term for Narendra Modi as Prime Minister. "Our partly believes in cumulative effort and taking along all our allies in the state. We will not allow seat sharing to become a deterrent in our goal. A decision regarding this would be conveyed at an appropriate time," he said.
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