BJP chief Amit Shah on Thursday said his party’s strong position in Bihar has forced arch-rivals JD(U) and RJD to join hands, but his party is pinning its hope on rebel ‘candidates’ from these two parties to sail through in the assembly elections coming up in September-October.
In the last 15 years — when it was in alliance with the JD(U) — the BJP fielded 102 candidates leaving around 140 seats for its ally. Now, it is finding it difficult to get ‘winnable’ candidates in seats earlier held by the JD(U).
“If the JD(U) get a particular seat in alliance, it would be at the cost of the RJD and vice versa. Those who would not find tickets in the RJD-JD(U) alliance will turn to us. We will consider them,” a BJP leader said.
“It’s not as if all of them would get a ticket at the cost of BJP workers. But, winnability would be a factor,” a Bihar BJP leader added.
BJP leaders claim that more than 40 former MLAs and office bearers of the RJD and JD(U) have joined the BJP in the last two months. The saffron party is yet to start seat-sharing talks with its two pre-poll allies, the Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party and Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samta Party.
The BJP is discussing within itself the possibility of some sort of an understanding with former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi and expelled RJD MP Pappu Yadav, who have formed their own political outfits.
“They are into politics for 20-25 years and know what is best for them,” BJP general secretary Bhupendra Yadav said. He is also in-charge of party affairs in Bihar.
Meanwhile, Manjhi met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, fuelling further speculation on a possible tie-up. Manjhi said he will be with a formation — post poll — that is opposed to incumbent Nitish Kumar.