JD (U) concedes, BJP to fight both Lok Sabha seats in Patna
NDA sources said the BJP leadership has apprised the JD(U) that since it currently held both Patna Saheb and Patliputra, it had a higher chance of winning the two seats, which have both urban and rural vote base.Updated: Feb 28, 2019 10:00 IST
Even as seats to be contested by the BJP and Janata Dal ( United) as per their 50:50 deal has not been officially announced, there are indications that the two Lok Sabha seats in Patna district, Patna Saheb and Patliputra, would go in the BJP kitty.
As per their deal, JD(U) and BJP would contest 17 seats each in Bihar while six would be contested by Lok Janshakti Party( LJP) led by Ram Vilas Paswan.
Before its deal with the BJP, the JD (U) was said to have been keen on Patliputra.
NDA sources said the BJP leadership has apprised the JD(U) that since it currently held both Patna Saheb and Patliputra, it had a higher chance of winning the two seats, which have both urban and rural vote base.
The recent induction of businessman Narendra Singh, considered a money bag, into the JD(U) had revived the speculation that JD (U) may stake claim on Patliputra, though there has been no word from the JD(U) leadership.
“There is no dispute over Patna Saheb and Patliputra seats. Both would go in BJP’s kitty,” said a senior leader in the NDA, wishing not to be quoted. He said the JD(U) had already bargained for the Jehanabad seat and was also in talks for seats of its choice in north and eastern Bihar with BJP leaders at the national level.
Besides, NDA sources said, the BJP leadership was not in favour of tinkering with sitting MPs and could only change a few faces in certain constituencies where its electoral prospects look bleak.
Sources said BJP national president Amit Shah and chief minister Nitish Kumar, along with Bihar BJP in-charge Bhupendra Yadav, would hold final consultations on seats in coming weeks before announcing the candidates.
In that case, it appears certain that BJP’s sitting MP from Patliputra, union minister Ram Kripal Yadav, would be pitted against RJD’s Rajya Sabha member Misa Bharti for the seat, which was carved out as a parliamentary segment only 13 years ago.
In the first Lok Sabha election held for the seat, Ranjan Yadav of the JD (U) had defeated his former mentor and RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
In 2014, Ram Kripal Yadav, who had quit the RJD and joined BJP just ahead of the polls, defeated Lalu Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti.
Reached for comments , Ram Kripal Yadav sounded confident of getting a ticket from Patliputra. “I am the sitting MP of BJP from Patliputra. I have worked tirelessly in the constituency for the last five years. Of course, I will contest from Patliputra at any cost,” he said.
In January this year, amid speculation that JD (U) may stake claim on Patliputra, Yadav had met JD (U) chief Nitish Kumar.
As far as Patna Saheb is concerned, the picture is still hazy.
Sources said union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad may be fielded by the BJP. Another name in reckoning for the Patna Saheb seat is that of Rituraj, son of R K Sinha, a Rajya Sabha member from the BJP.
State BJP president Nityanand Rai refused to comment on reports that BJP had bargained with JD(U) to retain its two seats of Patna Saheb and Patliputra.
First Published: Feb 28, 2019 10:00 IST