Bihar elections: JD(U)-BJP reach 50:50 seat-sharing deal; NDA snubs Paswan
The ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar on Tuesday announced the seat-sharing formula of its constituent parties for the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections. Under the arrangement, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) party will contest on the most number of seats, 122. The NDA also snubbed Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan, who had earlier revolted against Kumar's leadership.
At a joint press conference of the JD(U) and BJP top leadership, it was announced that the JD(U) has been allotted 122 Assembly seats. Out of this, seven have been set aside for the Hindustani Awam Morcha, which is headed by former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi. The BJP will contest the remaining 121 seats, which will accommodate Mukesh Sahni's Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP).
Speaking at the presser, Bihar BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal said, "The LJP is our ally at the Centre and we pray for early recovery of its founder and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan." Jaiswal added, "But there should be no confusion with regard to the fact that in Bihar the NDA's leader is Nitish Kumar. Our alliance with his party is atoot (unbreakable)."
For months, the Paswan-led LJP had bickered over Kumar's leadership. Reportedly, the NDA could also not meet LJP's demands for more number of seats in the seat-sharing deal. The conflict climaxed on Sunday as the party decided to walk out of the alliance. The party has since urged the people of Bihar to not vote in the favor of JD(U) candidates.
Not mentioning Paswan by name, Kumar said, "I believe in doing my job. If some people derive pleasure out of saying something inconsequential, they are most welcome to do so. It does not bother me." Reacting to Paswan's allegation that the JD(U) has not treated its allies well, Kumar said, "Did Ram Vilas Paswan get elected to the Rajya Sabha without JD(U)'s support?"
Answering a query about the post-poll scenario, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi clarified, "We have said unequivocally that Nitish Kumar will be our Chief Minister. It does not matter which party gets how many seats in the elections."
The Bihar elections will be held in three phases. The first phase will be held on October 28 across 71 constituencies. The second phase for 94 constituencies will be held on November 3, followed by the third phase for 78 constituencies on November 7. The poll results will be declared on November 10. Bihar has 72 million registered voters, according to the Election Commission.