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Bihar polls: Nitish, Nadda hold initial talks on seat-sharing, agree on earliest solution

The BJP delegation led by party’s national president JP Nadda interacted with chief minister and JD(U) national president Nitish Kumar for close to 45 minutes.

bihar-election Updated: Sep 12, 2020 18:44 IST
Vijay Swaroop | Edited by Sparshita Saxena
Vijay Swaroop | Edited by Sparshita Saxena
Hindustan Times, Patna
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar with BJP national president JP Nadda.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar with BJP national president JP Nadda. (ANI)

The much-awaited talks on seat-sharing for the forthcoming Bihar assembly elections between JD(U) and the BJP began on Saturday with both alliance partners deciding to reach an agreement on the issue “at the earliest.”

The BJP delegation led by party’s national president JP Nadda interacted with chief minister and JD(U) national president Nitish Kumar for close to 45 minutes. The BJP delegation comprised Bihar election in-charge Bhupendra Yadav, party’s state president Dr Sanjay Jaiswal and deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi. Chief minister Nitish Kumar was assisted by Lok Sabha MP Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh.

NDA sources said that Kumar voiced his annoyance over LJP chief Chirag Paswan’s utterance and emphasised the need of formalisation of seat-sharing at the earliest so that the message goes loud and clear to the people.

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A BJP source said that it was the “initial round of talks.” A final call on seat-sharing formula would be worked out only after September 14 meeting between Union home minister Amit Shah and LJP president Chirag Paswan.

“We want a respectable accommodation,” said an LJP leader, wishing not to be quoted. The LJP president already had three rounds of talks with Nadda in Delhi.

According to highly placed BJP sources, Nadda has advised LJP president to tone down his attacks on Bihar government and “be realistic in assessing his strengths before taking on a political veteran.”

Later in the day, BJP president Nadda, during the launching of Aatmnirbhar Bihar programme, clarified that the NDA alliance of BJP-JD (U)-LJP will contest elections under the leadership of Nitish Kumar and win with two-third majority.

“People of Bihar have already made up their mind. Now, we have to decide how are we going to change Bihar. When Biharis can change place outside the state, why can’t they do so here,” he said.

“The alliance of BJP-JD (U)-LJP and HAM-S is very strong,” said Sushil Modi, Bihar’s deputy CM.

Sources in the NDA said two to three formulas were under consideration. BJP leaders believe that after distributing seats among allies, the BJP and the JD(U) should get theirs on the 50-50 basis as was the case during the 2019 national polls. “Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular), HAM-S, which is likely to align with the JD (U), is likely to get seven seats. It will leave 115 seats for the JD(U). The BJP has been asked to adjust LJP from its quota and it is demanding no less than 42 seats,” said a person on condition of anonymity.

In 2015, the JD(U) and RJD had contested the elections together on 101 seats each as part of the Grand Alliance. The partner, Congress, contested on 41 seats.

In 2015, the BJP had contested 157 seats, LJP 42 seats, RLSP 23 seats and HAM got 21 seats. The BJP won from 53 seats, the LJP and RLSP won two seats each while the HAM could win only one.

The BJP garnered 93,08,015 votes, highest among all political parties out of the 3,76,96,978 votes polled against the total 6,62,43,193 registered voters in Bihar. HAM president Jitan Ram Manjhi had contested from two seats – Gaya and Imamganj – but lost from Gaya.

In the 2010 assembly elections, the JD(U) and BJP had contested 141 and 102 seats and won 115 and 91 seats respectively. The LJP was not part of the NDA then. In the November 2005 elections, the JD(U) and BJP had contested from 139 and 102 seats and won from 88 and 55 seats respectively.

The BJP is considering these 102 seats as its own and planning selection of candidates accordingly.

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