LJP mounts pressure on UPA, asks for 16 LS seats in Bihar | delhi | Hindustan Times
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LJP mounts pressure on UPA, asks for 16 LS seats in Bihar

delhi Updated: Jan 26, 2009 00:20 IST

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Mounting pressure on key UPA ally RJD in Bihar, Ram Vilas Paswan-led LJP on Sunday demanded as many as 16 seats out of a total of 40 in the coming Lok Sabha polls and termed it as an "effort" to keep the ruling coalition "united" in its fight against JD(U)-BJP combine in the state.

"We will not settle for less than 16 seats if an alliance takes place otherwise we will contest all the 40 Lok Sabha seats there alone," party MP Ramchandra Paswan, younger brother of the LJP chief, told PTI on Sunday.

The demand for 16 seats by the LJP this time is double than what the party asked for in the previous parliamentary elections. The party, however, won only on four seats.

Of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, RJD had then won 22 seats out of 26 on which it contested. Congress contested four seats and won three.

The LJP chief sometimes ago ruled out any possibility of an alliance with the RJD, but his party now says "it is open to tie up" provided Lalu Prasad agrees to "respectable" number of seats for Paswan's party.

With the RJD not in the pink of political health, the LJP is seeking to drive the best bargain, with party leaders arguing that RJD's OBC vote bank has now been dented as well Prasad's charisma to pull minority votes has also waned somehow.

Paswan believes that his party still has a grip over scheduled caste (SC) votes, which could be decisive for the outcome of the elections in the "changed circumstances".

"The scene is not the same in the state, which was five year ago and hence the conditions of seat sharing should also change," LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan said.