Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has dropped ample hints that seat-sharing talks for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls with the BJP are finally underway and signalled that the Janata Dal (United) will get a fair deal in terms of the number of seats it gets to contest as part of the National Democratic Alliance.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has dropped ample hints that seat-sharing talks for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls with the BJP are finally underway and signalled that the Janata Dal (United) will get a fair deal in terms of the number of seats it gets to contest as part of the National Democratic Alliance. The exact number of seats, the JD(U) chief said, will be disclosed at the ‘right time’.
On Sunday, the state executive of the Janata Dal (United) met in Patna to discuss the current political situation. It was there that Kumar is learnt to have asked the party leaders and workers to get to work keeping the general elections in the mind.
“Seat-sharing par baat ho gayi hai. Aap log kaam par jut jaiye (Seat-sharing talks are done. You get to work),” Nitish told leaders attending the party meeting, reported The Indian Express.
Another report in NDTV claimed the Kumar said that an “honourable agreement” on seat-sharing had been reached with the BJP for the general elections. “Honourable agreement has been reached with the BJP on seat sharing. A formal announcement will be made later,” the report quoted him as saying.
The remarks made by Kumar at the crucial party meeting put all speculations to the rest that he was mulling to return to the Mahagathbandhan of the RJD, Congress and Left parties. Strong signals had been sent by the JD(U) to the BJP regarding the seat-sharing issue, especially in view of the BJP’s purported plan to accord lesser number of seats to Nitish Kumar’s party. Pressure was also mounting on the BJP to initiate seat-sharing talks at the earliest. BJP chief Amit Shah’s recent visit to the state was seen as a step towards the initiation of talks on the matter.
Nitish’s reported optimism came on a day when election strategist Prashant Kishor joined the JD(U). He too had met BJP president Amit Shah recently. It is believed that Kishor, who was instrumental in crafting PM Narendra Modi’s 2014 campaign strategy, played a crucial role in finalising the deal. It added that after holding a meet with Shah, Kishor had separately met Kumar and top party leaders to apprise them about the development.
“With Prashant Kishor having met BJP president Amit Shah recently, there has been speculation about him playing a key role in seat-sharing talks,” a JD(U) source told the IE.
Just before the state executive meeting on Sunday, Kishor formally joined the Janata Dal (United) in the presence of Nitish Kumar and other senior leaders. Welcoming Kishor into the party, Kumar said, “It is a matter of personal happiness for me.”
Quoting sources, the IE report said that Kumar will give Kishor a key role in the party. Kishor who hails from Buxar district had successfully planned and executed election strategies for Nitish Kumar in the 2015 Assembly polls in Bihar. Before this, he had worked for the BJP during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. At present, Kishor is working for YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh where elections will be held next year.
Bihar sends 40 MPs to the Lok Sabha. In the previous general elections, the BJP had won 22 seats and the NDA 31. The JD(U) had contested the elections solo and managed to won just 2 seats. But in 2017, Kumar returned the NDA of which Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP and Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP are also a part.