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It has been almost two weeks since the major National Democratic Alliance (NDA) constituents in Bihar — the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (United) — had agreed to contest on equal number of seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. However, the delay in the declaration of the final figures is now causing unease among the smaller NDA alliance partners.

Union Minister and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan and Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) leader, not only feel left out but also think that they may not get adequate time to prepare for the polls if the announcement is not made at the earliest.

There are 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar. While the BJP has 22 MPs, ally LJP has six, RLSP has three and JD(U), which contested independently last time, has only two MPs.

On October 26, BJP president Amit Shah and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar had declared that the two parties had agreed on a 50-50 seat sharing arrangement in Bihar and that the final tallies would be announced within the next 2-3 days. This had also raised many eyebrows as both LJP and RLSP leaders were missing from the news conference and the talks which preceded it.

“Our parliamentary board chairman Chirag Paswan had said that the LJP was well aware that some accommodation will have to be made, but we will only agree to a respectable share. While we are preparing to contest the seats which we fought in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, we need to know for certain which seats we will contest this year to make the final preparations,” said a senior leader of the LJP in Bihar.

The RLSP leaders said the BJP needed to make the decision on the seat sharing soon, especially in light of the verbal dual taking place between the JD(U) and Kushwaha’s party. “They have been constantly targeting us on the seat share. First Nitishji called Kushwaha a low person and then his followers kept on adding. When our party president had made it clear that he is with the NDA and that we are making all efforts to see Narendra Modi return as the prime minister, such talks will only harm the relations,” an RLSP leader said.

He added, “Even the Mahagathbandhan leaders have been taunting us that we are not getting a fair deal. The seat sharing formula needs to be announced at the earliest to put a rest to all such talks.”

AS IT HAPPENED

  • On October 26, BJP president Amit Shah and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar had declared that the two parties had agreed on a 50-50 seat sharing arrangement in Bihar  
  • The complete seat sharing arrangement was set to declared in a few days, but it is not out yet   
  • There are 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar. While the BJP has 22 MPs, ally LJP has six, RLSP has three and JD(U), which contested independently last time, has only two MPs   
  • Smaller parties fear in addition to compromise on seats,  they won’t have enough time for campaign

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