The NDA in Bihar has four parties – the BJP, Janata Dal (United) of Nitish Kumar, LJP of Ram Vilas Paswan and RLSP of Upender Kushwaha.
It appears all is not well in the NDA in Bihar where the BJP is facing an uphill task to keep all the partners intact ahead of the next year’s Lok Sabha polls and 2020 assembly polls. According to a report in The Indian Express, the ruling JD(U) government of which the BJP is a part, wants a comprehensive agreement among allies to determine the seat share of each party for the 2019 and 2020 polls.
Citing sources, the daily reported that the JDU) is expecting the BJP to take an initiative to seal the deal well in time. There has been no proposal from the BJP yet to discuss the issue.
The NDA in Bihar has four parties – the BJP, Janata Dal (United) of Nitish Kumar, LJP of Ram Vilas Paswan and RLSP of Upender Kushwaha. Before 2014 polls, the JD(U) and BJP had contested elections together but after JD-U’s exit, the BJP contested elections in an alliance with the LJP and RLSP. However, in a dramatic turn of events in 2017, Nitish Kumar’s party returned to the NDA fold.
On the number of seats that the JD(U) wished to contest in both the elections, sources said that the ‘party was not fixated on the number’, adding that party wants all “sides to sit together and fix the shares of parties, which are just and fair and take current ground realities in account.”
When asked the BJP may argue that the 2014 results be taken into account for the seat sharing agreement, the party said ‘this logic was flawed’. “One has to remember that 2019 is not 2014,” they asserted. Sources said that “public mood seems to have undergone a change” as they cited the results of by-elections to attest their argument.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, when the BJP had contested elections with the LJP and LJP, the NDA had won 31 of the 40 seats (BJP 22 seats, LJP 6 seats and RLSP 3 seats). They JD(U) had contested elections alone and had won just 2 seats.
“Can the ruling combination repeat this performance?” the sources asked. “Can they (BJP) expect us to field candidates in only two constituencies now?”
They said that if poll performance was the criteria, the 2015 assembly results should also hold. In the 2015 polls, when the JD(U) had contested elections with the RJD and Congress, it had won 71 seats. The BJP had won 53 seats. LJP and RLSP had won 2 seats each.
“Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP has six members in the Lok Sabha, but only two MLAs in Bihar, while Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP had three seats in the Lok Sabha but only two members in the Assembly. Would they be content with the same number of seats?” they asked.
Sources said that the BJP should take steps to make the alliance more cohesive and consult its allies to address their concerns from time to time. They also flagged the issue of JD(U)’s absence in the central government even though the BJP was well represented in the Bihar government led by Nitish Kumar.