All well between BJP and JD(U)? BJP central leadership may skip crucial meet of NDA partners in Patna today

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New Delhi | Published: June 7, 2018 10:46:24 AM

A crucial meeting of the NDA partners in Bihar will be held in capital Patna today where the seat-sharing issue for 2019 Lok Sabha polls is tipped to be on the top of agenda. The meeting will be held at Gyan Bhavan near the iconic Gandhi Maidan.

NDA meet, NDA seat sharing, Bihar, BJP, JDU, LJP, RLSP, Nitish Kumar, Amit Shah, Sushil Modi, Ram Vilas Paswan, Amit Shah, Upendra Kushwaha, Gyan Bhavan, patnaLJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, Bihar CMNitish Kumar and Deputy CM Sushil Modi during Iftaar party, in Patna on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)

A crucial meeting of the NDA partners in Bihar will be held in capital Patna today where the seat-sharing issue for 2019 Lok Sabha polls is tipped to be on the top of agenda. The meeting will be held at Gyan Bhavan near the iconic Gandhi Maidan. A BJP source told FinancialExpress.com that leaders of all the four parties – BJP, Janata Dal (United), Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and RLSP — will meet over dinner in what has positioned as an informal meeting of the NDA constituents. However, central leaders including BJP president Amit Shah will not be present at the meeting.

As per the sources, the contentious issue of seat-sharing that has sparked immense buzz in political circles in the past week or so, is unlikely to figure in the meeting today. However, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, LJP national president Ram Vilas Paswan, RLSP national president Upendra Kushwaha, all MPs, MLAs, MLCs and state unit presidents, district unit chiefs of the four parties will be present at the meeting.

While the central leadership of the BJP is unlikely to make a representation there, BJP MPs (both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) from the state will be present at the meeting for interaction with other parties’ colleagues.
“No one from the BJP central leadership will attend today’s meeting. However, party general secretary Bhupendra Yadav (who is also BJP’s Bihar in-charge) is coming today as part of Sampark for Samarthan,” a BJP leader told FinancialExpress.com over phone from Patna. “It is just a get together of NDA partners, followed by dinner.”

“Leaders will meet over dinner if they talk with each other… let’s see, we all will see what happens today,” he said.

The meeting of NDA partners comes in the backdrop of a raging debate over seat-sharing among the four parties for 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The JD(U)’s return to the NDA fold last year has made the task for the BJP tough to keep all its partners happy. Before 2014, the JD(U) and BJP had contested the Lok Sabha polls in on 25 and 15 seats respectively. But in the previous general elections, the JD(U) had contested alone and the BJP had contested elections with LJP and RLSP.

Bihar sends 40 MPs to the Lok Sabha and JD(U) has been insisting that the 2009 formula should be retained this time also. But LJP and RLSP have staked claimed not to contest on fewer seats than they had in 2014. While the LJP had fielded candidates on seven seats and won 6, the RLSP had contested four and won 3 seats. The JD(U) has also demanded that CM Nitish Kumar be the NDA’s face for next year’s polls but LJP and RLSP have downplayed their demand.

Meanwhile, BJP’s Bihar unit president Nityanad Rai last night chaired a meeting of party leaders in the state capital to discuss the startegy for today’s meeting.

Also on Wednesday evening, a rare scene of bonhomie between CM Nitish Kumar and LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan emerged when they met during an Iftaar party in the state capital. BJP leader and Deputy CM Sushil Modi was also present on the occasion.

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