BJP, JD-U stick to 2005 formula
After weeks of turmoil, peace seems to have descended on the NDA camp in Bihar. Alliance partners BJP and JD(U) have decided to leave behind the animosity and controversies of the past couple of weeks and agreed on a seat-sharing formula for the assembly polls due later this year. Vijay Swaroop and Vikas Pathak report.india Updated: Jun 28, 2010 22:50 IST
After weeks of turmoil, peace seems to have descended on the NDA camp in Bihar.
Alliance partners BJP and JD(U) have decided to leave behind the animosity and controversies of the past couple of weeks and agreed on a seat-sharing formula for the assembly polls due later this year.
"Everything is fine and we will contest the elections together. We have also reached a consensus on seat-sharing, but there may be some swapping of seats in view of delimitation," said BJP state president CP Thakur.
Highly placed sources in the BJP said both parties have agreed to stick to the 2005 formula, according to which the JD(U) contested 139 seats and BJP 102. The parties had backed separate Independent candidates in the remaining two seats. The assembly has 243 seats.
"There are no contentious issues between the JD(U) and BJP and there never has been. The disagreement, if any, was confined to an advertisement," said Bihar JD(U) president Vijay Kumar Chaudhary.
The relationship soured after BJP supporters took out advertisements showing Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and Kumar holding hands. These advertisements had highlighted the financial help Gujarat had extended for Kosi flood victims.
An angry Kumar, upset at the prospect of losing his Muslim support base — Modi remains a hate figure for them for his alleged role in the Gujarat riots — reacted by cancelling a dinner he was scheduled to host for top BJP leaders. He also returned Rs 5 crore the Gujarat government had given as relief.
Meanwhile, a day after BJP chief Nitin Gadkari said Modi and Varun Gandhi "can" campaign in Bihar and that no other party can decide who will campaign for the BJP, the party reiterated the position on Monday.
BJP national general secretary Ananth Kumar laid down three principles the party was following on Bihar.
"The first is that the alliance should continue," he told HT.
"The second is that we will contest as many seats as we did last time. The third is that while we will decide our campaigners on the seats we are contesting and they on the seats they are fielding candidates on, both parties will together take a call wherever there is joint campaign."
When things seemed to be improving, Gadkari's statement about Modi and Varun has surprised many.
It, however, has one clear message: the party wants to continue the alliance without creating the impression that Kumar is becoming so much of a dominant ally as to call the shots as and when he wants.
Kumar or JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav could not be contacted for comments.