Bihar: GA set to fast track seat sharing deal as Chirag puts his bet with NDA | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Bihar: GA set to fast track seat sharing deal as Chirag puts his bet with NDA

Mar 13, 2024 11:02 PM IST

On Wednesday evening, Paswan announced on X ( formerly twitter) that a seat sharing deal had been finalised with the NDA

Patna: The seat sharing arrangement in the RJD-Congress led grand alliance (GA) opposition in Bihar continues to be under wraps as the five party coalition is busy in deliberations on seat-adjustment based on the who-could-win factor and to make the right candidate choice to put up a strong fight against ruling NDA, according to leaders in the GA.

Lok Janshakti Party (Ramvilas) chief Chirag Paswan. (HT file photo)
Lok Janshakti Party (Ramvilas) chief Chirag Paswan. (HT file photo)

More importantly leaders who did not wish to be named said NDA’s seat sharing deal appears to be final with Lok Janshakti party( Ram VIlas) led by Jamui MP Chirag Paswan indicating that a deal had been struck with BJP. This development could now pave the way for an early seat adjustment deal among GA parties as until Tuesday RJD leaders maintained a ‘wait and watch’ policy on which way Paswan tilts.

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On Wednesday evening, Paswan announced on X ( formerly twitter) that a seat sharing deal had been finalised with the NDA.

“ Now, that the seat sharing deal in NDA is almost clear with Chirag faction of LJP staying with NDA, we have no chance of any entry of a new partner in the GA except for some smaller parties . Deliberations are going between RJD and its partners on seat adjustment as our aim is to field strong joint GA candidates either from RJD , Congress or left parties in all 40 parliamentary seat against NDA. The ability to win is going to be main criteria for allotment of seats be it for RJD or other allies,” said a senior RJD leader, seeking anonymity.

The GA leaders, quoted earlier, said the RJD was keeping a close eye on Paswan’s moves and on the moves of the LJP faction union minister Pashupati Kumar Paras( Paswan’s estranged uncle) on the seat sharing adjustment with NDA. There were reports that both factions were still undecided over a few seats including Hajipur, a seat represented by LJP founder and late former union minister Ram Vilas Paswan.

At a rally in Sahebganj, Muzaffarpur on March 10, Paswan said he was being wooed by every party and asserted he had an alliance with the ‘people of Bihar’ while taking a dig at successive governments for not fast tracking development in the state. This was an indication that he could tilt towards any coalition , which would give him a better bargain in terms of seats for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

The RJD led alliance was hoping that bringing LJP could help the coalition in getting Paswan votes - which have a sizeable electorate number in a large number of constituencies including central, south and east Bihar.

Meanwhile, CPI- ML( liberation) state secretary Kunal said the seat sharing talks with the RJD - which as the biggest constituent in GA in Bihar is holding talks with allies on seat adjustment- has remained suspended over the past one week . “We want the seat sharing deal to be finalised soon. But it is on hold as some key RJD leaders are indisposed. We have not held talks on a final deal, so far,” he added.

Asked how many seats his party is expecting, Kunal said a respectable seat sharing deal would be stitched without sharing details. “In any case, we are going to contest as an ally of RJD led coalition. We will be in GA,” he asserted. The CPI -ML (Liberation) has sought around nine seats after JD(U)’s exit from GA reasoning there were more seats to be distributed as a major party had left the opposition coalition.

Incidentally, the Vikasheel Insaan Party( VIP) led by Mukesh Sahni has so far remained ambiguous about joining either of the two blocs and it is being speculated that he is weighing options -- the NDA or GA. “ If VIP comes to our side, we will accomodate his party in the GA,” said a senior RJD leader who asked not to be named. The VIP had contested three seats as an ally of RJD-led GA in 2019 parliamentary polls: The party lost all three seats.

However, there are indications that GA would be finalising it seat deal in next few days as there is pressure on RJD from its left partners and Congress to finalise an arrangement at the earliest.

A new seat sharing arrangement - post JD(U)’s exit from the GA on Januarry 28 - had been worked out under which the RJD would contest 25-26 seats while Congress and three left parties would opt for the remaining 14 seats.

The GA leaders especially the RJD seems to have some issues with CPI-ML (Liberation) and other left parties on some seats including Katihar, Jehanabad , Begusarari and Siwan. While the CPI-ML (Liberation) is bargaining hard for the Katihar parliamentary seat, the RJD is in dilemma as a senior ally in GA, Congress too is eyeing the seat contending it had a natural claim on it. On the Jehenanbad seat, both the left party and the RJD are keen to fight while in Begusarai is being claimed by both the RJD and CPI.

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