After much dilly-dallying, the NDA has finalised its seat-sharing formula for the upcoming Bihar state assembly polls. Sources have told News18 that Janata Dal (United) is expected to contest in 124 seats in the House of 243. BJP will get 119 while the Hindustani Awam Morcha of Jitan Ram Manjhi may be allocated the remaining seats.
The JD(U) seems to have told the BJP to take a call on Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party. Paswan senior is currently hospitalised while his son Chirag has been insisting on getting far greater number of seats than JD(U) is willing to concede. The LJP is likely to go ahead with the slogan “Modi se bair nahi, Nitish teri khair nahi,” or “No enmity with Modi but won’t spare CM and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar.”
Chirag Paswan, who has been challenging Nitish Kumar's performance on both law and order and development, had also indicated that his party was willing to contest on 143 seats if his demands were not met. The JD(U) has maintained that its alliance in Bihar is with the BJP and not LJP.
The LJP has reportedly said it wasn’t walking out of the alliance as the party is in partnership with the NDA at the national level. It is being said that the LJP will act as BJP’s proxy in the alliance.
The idea behind the arrangement is to gather the votes which are anti-Nitish but also pro-Modi on the JD(U) seats.
Earlier, Chirag Paswan had asked members of the party's parliamentary board to prepare a list of 143 candidates and start campaigning in their respective constituencies. The decision had won the appreciation of parliamentary board members in New Delhi. The LJP chief’s mood shows that he is not willing to compromise on seat-sharing with the JD(U).
LJP leaders were reluctant to contest elections under the leadership of Kumar as they were upset with his poor handling of the Covid-19 situation, the floods, migrant crisis and employment issues in the state. So far as the JD(U) is concerned, party insiders say the spat with LJP was over seat sharing ahead of the elections.
Another round of meetings to convince Chirag Paswan to fight elections together in Bihar was to take place on Saturday but that had to be cancelled. At least two meetings were scheduled between Chirag Paswan and minister Amit Shah but had to be called off at the last moment due to the senior Paswan's health.
Chirag Paswan took to Twitter on Sunday to inform that senior Paswan underwent a heart operation on Saturday and hence his party's parliamentary board meeting schedule for Saturday had to be postponed.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, has given his seal of approval to Kumar as the face of the NDA, saying Kumar had a “very important role” to play in taking Bihar forward on the path to progress.
The BJP will hold its Chief Election Committee (CEC) meeting on Sunday to finalise the names for the upcoming polls and it is pretty likely that BJP, JD(U) and HAM will contest together.
The Bihar assembly elections will be held in three phases- the first phase will be held on October 28, the second phase will be on November 3 and the third phase will be on November 7. The counting of votes will be on November 10.(With inputs from Payal Mehta)