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Bihar polls: Ally RLSP unhappy as BJP releases first list

india Updated: Sep 17, 2015 14:42 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times
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BJP president Amit Shah with HAM(S) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi, LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan, RLSP leader Upendra Kushwaha and other leaders during a press conference in New Delhi. (Arun Sharma/HT Photo)

NDA constituent Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) expressed displeasure over the BJP's 'unilateral' move to release a list of 43 candidates for the upcoming Bihar elections late on Tuesday night, triggering fresh concerns in the alliance after the LJP said the saffron party did not stick to an agreed seat-sharing formula.

"We strongly object to this announcement of candidates by the BJP. This is violation of coalition dharma," a statement issued by RLSP spokesperson Fazal Imam Mallick said soon after the BJP released its first list that gave about 60% representation to Scheduled Castes and backward caste candidates.

Sources in the RLSP said they were upset since the Union minister Upendra Kushwaha-led party had staked claim to some of the seats for which the BJP announced its picks.

The BJP became the first major party to announce its candidates for elections to the 243-member Bihar assembly on Tuesday, and the list included names of 19 candidates for the first phase, 15 for the second and nine others for later phases.

National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners have started negotiations to identify the seats each ally would contest in keeping with their shares announced on Monday, an RLSP leader said. The BJP's announcement was objectionable, he added.

The NDA, which faces a challenge from a so-called grand alliance of the Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress in Bihar, has already had its share of trouble in keeping its flock together in the politically crucial state that will see a five-phase assembly election from October 12 to November 5.

Leading partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced a seat-sharing pact on Monday following last-minute tweaks to keep Mahadalit leader and former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi happy.

It was decided the BJP will contest 160 of the 243 assembly seats and Manjhi’s share was increased after his hard-nosed bargaining frustrated negotiators. Under the new agreement, Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) will contest 40 seats, RLSP 23 and Manjhi's Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) will fight 20 seats. A few other HAM members may contest on the saffron party’s symbol.

Even though the move placated Manjhi, it "shocked" the LJP, which said: "The BJP did not inform us about the final number of seats that the LJP was getting."

"There are media reports about the LJP being unhappy. There is no smoke without fire. But, we are not upset. We were shocked. We have expressed our concerns to BJP chief Amit Shah and he has assured us that he will 'honour' them. We have no reasons to doubt him," LJP MP Chirag Paswan told reporters earlier on Tuesday.

Read:Bihar polls: NDA seat-sharing pact staves off HAM-LJP tussle

Day after BJP seals Bihar seat deal, ally Paswan 'shocked'

Full Coverage:Battle for Bihar

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