Bihar polls: NDA has its own woes

The problems of seat sharing and alliance building in Bihar for the upcoming Assembly elections are as much a cause of worry for the leaders of the National Democratic Alliance as they are for the Janata Parivar and the Congress. A number of Bihar leaders from the NDA fold confirmed on Sunday that seat sharing within the alliance remains an issue that is far from settled.

A senior BJP leader said the party wants to contest the lion’s share of constituencies in the State though its alliance partners are opposing the move.

We can’t take chances in Bihar: BJP

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s alliance partners in Bihar, Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Upendra Khushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP), too want a bigger share of seats proportionate to the constituencies they had contested in the Lok Sabha polls in 2014.

Together, the LJP and the RLSP, contested 10 Lok Sabha seats (covering roughly one-fourth of the Assembly segments among themselves last year) and bagged nine of those.

“We cannot take chances in Bihar after the Delhi Assembly elections. The party is putting all its might into this election. We are also watching what is unfolding in the other camps just as closely,” a senior BJP leader said. While he stopped short of giving a figure for the BJP, he revealed the party was “definitely looking at more than 150 seats.”

An MP from Bihar confirmed that the NDA was in talks with Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustan Awami Morcha and the three alliance partners will have to make space for the Morcha. Mr. Manjhi met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 29 in New Delhi. Sources said he has asked the BJP for a share of 50 seats of the 243.

Others too are keen on flexing political muscle given the BJP’s need for a win. The numbers when added up far exceed the total number of seats in the Assembly. “These are State elections. They cannot be fought on the same seat sharing formula as the Lok Sabha polls. The BJP needs to realise that we are the State party this time,” an RLSP leader told The Hindu. He said the party had a meeting of its MPs and office-bearers on Saturday to discuss seat sharing. The party is learnt to have told the BJP that it wants to field 40 candidates. “The three partners will also have to make room for Manjhi, if the alliance expands,” the MP from Bihar said.

The LJP too has held intra-party meetings on the issue. While last year in October, the party had declared in Bihar that it had identified 100 seats it would work on, it is willing to settle for a smaller number but it wants a bigger share than the 42 Assembly segments that fell into its kitty in 2014. “The alliance partners will have to sit and discuss whatever is reasonable and winnable,” a senior LJP leader said.

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Printable version | May 13, 2021 2:20:54 PM |

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