BJP-JD (U) to contest equal seats in Bihar

BJP-JD (U) to contest equal seats in Bihar

Days after wrangling over the sharing of seats in Bihar, the BJP and the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) on Friday came to an agreement to contest on an equal number of seats for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Announcing the decision after a meeting with Bihar Chief Minister and JD-U chief Nitish Kumar on Friday, BJP president Amit Shah asserted that “all other” NDA partners in Bihar, including the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), will contest the elections in the state together.

Exact details of the seat-sharing formula with numbers will be worked out and announced in next two-three days after a meeting with all NDA partners, the BJP president told reporters in Nitish’s presence after the meeting.

A “respectable” seat-sharing formula will be worked out for all the NDA partners in Bihar, Shah said, responding to questions on how many seats are to be shared with the allies LJP and the RLSP.

“It has been decided that the BJP and JD-U will contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections on an equal number of seats in Bihar. Other allies will also get a respectable seat share. Numbers will be announced in two-three days. All four parties will be part of the NDA in Bihar,” the BJP president said.

When asked whether the BJP has scaled down its demand, Shah said that all partners will have to make adjustments when a new ally has joined.

Out of a total of 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, the BJP-LJP-RLSP combine had won a total of 31 seats in the last Lok Sabha elections in the state with a total of 22 seats going into the BJP’s kitty, 6 to LJP and 3 to RLSP in 2014.

The JD-U, which contested the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 under United Progressive Alliance (UPA), had won just two seats, with Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal winning 4 and Congress 2.

The BJP, in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, had contested on 30 seats in Bihar, the double of what it contested in 2009. In the 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha polls, when the BJP and JD (U) were together, the JD (U) and BJP had contested on the 26-14 and 25-15 seats formula with Nitish Kumar’s party in the big brother role.

“While we have reached an agreement (with the BJP), talks are going on for the sharing of seats with the other NDA partners. It is in the final stages. The number of seats to be shared with each of the four NDA partners will be announced in next two-three days,” Nitish said.

Earlier in the day, Nitish had called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.