NDA partner’s tough message day after Nitish-Shah meet: ‘May quit if not given respectable seats’

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New Delhi | Updated: October 27, 2018 12:55:22 PM

The Lok Jan Shakti (LJP) of Ram Vilas Paswan has said that the party hopes that it will get a respectable share of seats to contest in in Bihar in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

Nitish Kumar Amit Shah meetNDA partner’s tough message day after Nitish-Shah meet: ‘May quit if not given respectable seats’

The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) of Ram Vilas Paswan has said that the party hopes that it will get a respectable share of seats to contest in in Bihar in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2019. The comments came soon after BJP president Amit Shah and his JD(U) counterpart Nitish Kumar announced that an agreement has been reached on seats and it will be made public in next two-three days. The two leaders had met in the national capital on Friday.

Speaking to reporters last evening, LJP parliamentary party leader Chirag Paswan said that he is confident that the party will be given a respectable number of seats to enter the election fray next year. He further said that it will continue to work with the BJP and positive talks are underway with regard to the distribution of seats for the 2019 general elections.

“We will continue working together to strengthen the NDA ahead of 2019 elections. Positive talks are being held and we hope LJP will also get a respectable share of seats to contest,” he said.

Also Read: Meeting with Tejashwi Yadav just a coincidence, says Upendra Kushwaha

While the final seat-sharing formula is yet to be settled, the LJP appears to be flexing its muscle to get what it feels is its fair share in the 40 seats. It is believed that the LJP and RLSP of Upendra Kushwaha have begun hectic parleys with Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD to discuss the possibility of joining the Grand Alliance of which the Congress is also a part. While Kushwaha’s meeting with Yadav was reported widely in media, other reports also claimed that Chirag had a 10-minute telephonic conversation with Tejashwi last evening.

Speaking to Financial Express Online, LJP spokesperson Ashraf Ansari denied reports of Chirag dialling Tejashwi. “All such reports are wrong. Our stand is that we were in NDA and will remain a part of the NDA. The final seat-sharing formula is yet to be decided. So far the two (BJP and JD-U) have decided that they will contest an equal number of seats.”

LJP demands 7 seats

While the final agreement is yet to be reached, the LJP is set to insist on seven seats. “We are clear we want to contest 7 seats. But our leaders Ram Vilas and Chirag will take a final call.”

Hum chaahte hai ki 7 seat mile (We want 7 seats),” he added quickly, when asked if the party expected a cut in its seat quota. “State president (LJP) Pashupati Kumar Paras has made it clear that we will remain in the alliance only if we are given a respectable number of seats.”

The LJP also appears to have made it clear that the alliance with BJP could end if a “respectable” agreement is not reached. “The agreement (with the BJP) was not for life,” he added.

“Whether we will go solo or with someone else, circumstances will decide,” he added.

Ansari added that so far party president, parliamentary board chief and state party president have held two rounds of talks with Amit Shah and talks are going on in a positive direction. “A formula has been chalked out and let’s see where we are placed. But I hope that the outcome will be positive.”

On Friday evening, Nitish Kumar and Amit Shah held a closed-door meeting in Delhi to give final touches to the seat-sharing agreement between the constituents of the NDA in Bihar. Addressing the media later, Shah announced the BJP and JD(U) will contest an equal number of seats and other allies will be given a respectable number of seats to contest. Shah in his remark also said that “when a new alliance partner comes, there will be a cut in everyone’s share”.

“There is a consensus that everyone has to go together,” the BJP president added.

Bihar sends 40 MPs to Lok Sabha. In the 2014 polls, the JD(U) had contested solo and won just 2 seats whereas the BJP had contested elections in an agreement with LJP and RLSP and managed to win 31 seats. But Nitish Kumar returned to the NDA fold last year and thus accommodating him in the alliance while keeping other partners intact has become albatross around the BJP’s neck.

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