Bihar assembly election 2020: NDA seat-sharing pact sealed, Nitish Kumar jabs ex-ally Chirag Paswan
The Janata Dal (United), or JD (U), will contest 122 seats and the Bharatiya Janata Party 121 seats in the 243-member assembly, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said on Tuesday. At a joint press conference with BJP leaders, Nitish Kumar said the JD (U) will allot seven seats to Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) out of its share of seats. This effectively means that JD (U) would be contesting 115 seats, the number it won in the 2010 elections.
The Bihar assembly elections will take place on October 28, November 3 and November 7, with vote-counting set for November 10.
“The BJP is in talks with Mukesh Sahni’s Vikassheel Insaan Party and their tickets will be adjusted from the BJP quota of seats,” Kumar said as he also reaffirmed that the “strong bond” between the BJP and the JD (U) was intact. People in the BJP familiar with the situation said the Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) will get a maximum of nine seats and a minimum of seven.
The BJP contested 157 seats in 2015, when the JD (U) was not a part of the NDA, and 102 seats in 2010.
The BJP and the JD (U), which are fighting the upcoming Bihar assembly election together after Nitish Kumar broke away from the so-called grand alliance of the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress and returned to the NDA in 2017, put up a united front on Tuesday.
The seat sharing pact was announced days after the Chirag Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) said on Sunday that it would fight the elections on its own because it didn’t want to do so under Nitish Kumar.
“There is no misunderstanding between JD (U) and BJP. We have been working together for Bihar’s development for 15 years, and will continue to do so,” the chief minister said at a press conference where two BJP election in-charges, former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Bhupendra Yadav, were also present.
Nitish Kumar said both parties had already announced that they were fighting the elections together. “We have shown a new way forward to Bihar and will continue to work together,” he said and attacked the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), which has been critical of the NDA’s governance in Bihar.
“Those who were in the government before us, what did they do? What was the condition of employment, law, and order, roads, etc? Riots and massacres were the order of the day. People know everything. When we came in 2005, we fixed things in education, health and development. The state’s budget used to be Rs 24,000 crore and now we have taken it to Rs 2.11 lakh crore... We will work together and will contest polls. There are no misunderstandings,” he added.
The focus of the media interaction was on a recent statement made by the LJP president Chirag Paswan that was hugely critical of Nitish Kumar and the JD (U).
“Who is saying what, I am not bothered. We have a long association with Ram Vilas Paswan. Ask those people how Ram Vilas Paswan reached Rajya Sabha. He became an MP with the support of the BJP and JD (U). We have a long friendship; he is unwell and I wish him a speedy recovery,” he said, replying to Chirag Paswan’s “ideological differences” barb.
Nitish Kumar’s deputy Sushil Kumar Modi said the two parties had already decided to fight the elections under the leadership of the CM.
“We have made it clear that those who are ready to accept Nitish ji as their leader will stay in NDA. He is the chief ministerial candidate of NDA and will remain the CM. There is no confusion,” said Modi.
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- He is in Tamil Nadu to take stock of Congress’ preparation ahead of the legislative assembly elections due in April-May this year.