23 December 2018
According to the tentative deal struck, the JD(U) and the BJP will contest on 17 seats each in Bihar, while the Ram Vilas Paswan-led LJP has been given five seats.
Patna: BJP chief Amit Shah, JD(U) president Nitish Kumar and Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan — the three big players of the NDA in Bihar — are likely to announce the final seat-sharing deal for general elections on Sunday.
According to sources, the BJP has offered the LJP five Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, one seat in either Uttar Pradesh or Jharkhand and a Rajya Sabha berth, which is likely to be taken by Paswan, who is currently a minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet. According to sources, the Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) and the BJP will contest on 17 seats each in Bihar.
The formal announcement was scheduled to be made on Saturday but was postponed by a day as sources said Paswan also wanted the list of seats to be shared.
The deal was clinched after Paswan and his son Chirag met BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Friday. Chirag, who has been vocal in airing his party’s differences with the BJP, told reporters that talks were on and claimed there were other issues besides sharing of seats.
Sources later said differences between the two parties have been resolved.
BJP president Amit Shah had earlier announced that his party and its key ally JD(U) will be contesting equal number of seats in the politically crucial state where the BJP-led NDA had won 31 seats in 2014.
The deployment of Jaitley, an old Bihar hand in the party with friendly relations with leaders of different parties, by the BJP to buy truce with the LJP underscores the importance the saffron party has attached to continuing its alliance with Paswan’s party, which enjoys strong influence among Dalits.
Top BJP leaders, including its president Shah and Jaitley, had held an hour-long meeting with LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and his son Thursday to resolve their differences.
Chirag Paswan had earlier written a letter to Jaitley asking him to explain what benefits demonetisation brought to the country.
He had also tweeted that a delay in seat-sharing announcement may harm the ruling alliance.