Bihar Assembly Election 2020: BJP demands same number of seats as JD(U)
The LJP has been demanding six times the number of assembly segments it won in the 2019 national elections. It has warned it will contest 143 out of the 243 seats if its demands are not metUpdated: Sep 30, 2020, 16:29 IST
Equal seats for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal (United), or JD (U), and leaving the remaining for other two National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), have been among the suggestions put forth for arriving at a seat-sharing formula for the Bihar assembly polls, people aware of the matter said. The people cited initial rounds of discussions and added there is a demand from the BJP cadre that the party and JDU should contest between 105-110 seats each and the rest should be divided between the two remaining allies.
The JDU is insistent that it should have more seats even if it is just one more than the BJP.
“The BJP leadership has announced that the workers will campaign for all allies and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Nitish Kumar will be the two faces of the election. However, there is anti-incumbency against the JD (U) and the suggestion from the cadre is that the BJP should contest an equal number of seats if not more,” said a BJP functionary aware of the matter.
The functionary added the LJP will have to agree to the formula because the alliance has to take into consideration the remaining allies as well. “HAM has joined and so have some RJD [Rashtriya Janata Dal] leaders who had won the previous election. Winnability will remain a consideration while working out the seat allocation and ticket distribution.”
The LJP has been demanding six times the number of assembly segments it won in the 2019 national elections. It has warned it will contest 143 out of the 243 seats if its demands are not met. LJP has said it will not shy away from putting up contestants against the JDU.
Faced with a possible triangular contest, the BJP has reached out to LJP chief Chirag Paswan to consider burying the hatchet with the JDU. Paswan has been a critic of JDU and chief minister Nitish Kumar. He has suggested the BJP should get a lion’s share of the seats.
BJP chief JP Nadda met Paswan on Monday. A second meeting between the two was also expected. “By the end of this week, all issues will be addressed,” said a second BJP leader.
LJP leaders did not respond to queries.
The three-phase polls will be held in Bihar on October 28, November 3, and November 7. They will be the first major elections in the country since the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted political calendars and prompted sweeping measures for social distancing in March to check its spread.
The NDA swept the 2019 national polls in Bihar and won 39 out of 40 seats in the state. The Bihar elections are crucial for the BJP as it has suffered electoral setbacks after retaining power at the Centre with a bigger majority in 2019. It was unable to form the government in Maharashtra despite emerging as the single largest party following disagreements with its oldest ally, Shiv Sena, over power-sharing. In Haryana, it could form the government only after Jannayak Janata Party’s support. The BJP was voted out of power in Jharkhand in December 2019.
The RJD-led alliance in Bihar won the last assembly elections in the state in 2015. It lost power when the JD (U) returned to the NDA fold in 2017 and formed a new government with the BJP’s help.