Two rounds of Lok Sabha seat sharing talk between the ruling partners in Bihar—the JD (U) and BJP—have, so far, failed. Reason: The JD (U) wants its ally to limit itself to only 12 seats, while the saffron party is adamant on fielding candidates in 16 constituencies.
High-level sources in the ruling clique said that the JD (U) wanted its partner to forgo Kishanganj, Madhubani, Araria and Katihar for the former. The BJP, on the other hand, is not ready to relinquish them. Moreover, two of them are the party’s sitting seats.
Insiders said that the JD (U) even asked for Chapra and Bhagalpur in place of Araria and Katihar. But, it did not want its ally to contest more than 12 seats, the sources added.
The first round of seat sharing discussions between the two allies took place in New Delhi on January 31. The BJP was represented by State party chief Radha Mohan Singh, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and NDA convenor Nand Kishore Yadav, while Water Resources Minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav and Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh were there on behalf of the JD (U).
The second round of talks was held at the residence of BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley on February 12. All those, who were present at the first meeting, also participated in the second round of discussions. The meeting remained inconclusive over the four seats, which will again be taken up by February end.
At its executive committee meeting here on Sunday, the BJP identified five more seats in addition to the 16 it had contested in the last poll. They are Valmiki Nagar, Muzaffarpur, Siwan, Begusarai and Ara. “We can try our luck even in these constituencies, provided we get a chance,” said a senior party officer-bearer.
State BJP spokesman Vinod Narayan Jha said the party would launch a ‘Vijay Sankalp Abhiyan’ from February 17 to February 23. During the period, party leaders would visit 20 constituencies, including the five newly identified seats, where they would highlight the achievements of the Bihar Government and the failures of the UPA at the Centre.
Senior BJP leader Kailash Pati Mishra inaugurated the meeting, while Radha Mohan Singh presided over it. Sushil Kumar Modi, Nand Kishre Yadav, Ashwini Choubey and Ravi Shankar Prasad were prominent among the speakers.