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BJP ally RLSP says talks on seat sharing in Bihar positive but inconclusive

NDA constituent Rashtriya Lok Samata Party president Upendra Kushwaha said on Tuesday that talks over seat-sharing in Bihar are positive but inconclusive, and his party has conveyed to the BJP leadership what it expects.

india Updated: Oct 31, 2018 11:00 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
BJP,RLSP,Bihar
Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) leader Upendra Kushwaha (in white kurta) during a press conference, in New Delhi, Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018. (PTI)

National Democratic Alliance (NDA) constituent Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) president Upendra Kushwaha said on Tuesday that talks over seat-sharing in Bihar are positive but inconclusive, and his party has conveyed to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership what it expects.

RLSP is a partner in the alliance in Bihar that includes the BJP, Janata Dal United (JDU) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). Last week, the BJP and JD(U) announced that they would contest an equal number of Lok Sabha seats in the state, which sends 40 members to Parliament. Since then, there has been speculation on whether this would mean fewer seats for the other partners.

Even as both the BJP and RLSP are trying to scotch rumours of a crack in the alliance, Kushwaha, who is also a union minister, said all partners in an alliance should be able to share the benefits and losses equally.

“We have told the BJP how many seats we want, but I will not disclose the number,” he said. Kushwaha said he was meeting LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan later in the day and “if the need arises” he would meet “ both BJP president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.

Kushwaha denied that he has resigned from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government and asserted that his party is working to help Modi get a second term.

Kushwaha did not hide his displeasure over reports indicating that his party will get a smaller number of Bihar’s 40 Lok Sabha seats. “I met (BJP general secretary) Bhupinder Yadav; the talks happened in a cordial atmosphere and I conveyed to him the sentiments of our supporters in the state. I told them that seat sharing should be finalised, keeping their aspirations in mind,” he said.

In 2014, his party contested three seats, winning all. However, the JDU was not part of the alliance then.

Shah and JDU chief Nitish Kumar announced last week that their parties will contest an equal number of seats after granting a “respectable number of seats” to the allies in Bihar. Kushwaha said the BJP should consider their past performance to arrive at a number for the next round of polls.

Kushwaha added that his party would contest 66 seats in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections next month.

On the day of Shah-Kumar meeting, Kushwaha met Bihar’s Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav, setting off speculation that he was unhappy with the developments. Kushwaha later called it was a chance meeting with no political undertones.

First Published: Oct 31, 2018 06:57 IST