BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday announced that the saffron party and JD(U) will contest 17 seats each while the LJP of Ram Vilas Paswan will contest the remaining six seats in Bihar.
The Bharatijaya Janata Party (BJP) has finally worked out the seat-sharing issue with the Janata Dal (United) and Lok Janshakti Paty (LJP) in Bihar. Addressing the media in Delhi on Sunday, BJP president Amit Shah announced that the saffron party and JD(U) will contest 17 seats each while the LJP will contest the remaining six seats.
Shah also announced that LJP chief and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan will get a Rajya Sabha berth in the upcoming elections to the Upper House. The declaration was made by Shah following a brief meeting with Kumar and LJP leaders Paswan and his MP son Chirag.
Shah asserted that the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will win more than 31 seats it had in 2014 and expressed confidence that it will come back to power in 2019. The state has 40 Lok Sabha seats.
The BJP president added that allies will soon decide on distribution of Lok Sabha constituencies among them for fielding their candidates in 2019.
Watch video: Amit Shah speaks to media in Delhi
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told reporters that NDA is committed to development of Bihar and expressed confidence that it will win more number of seats that it had won in 2009 when the BJP and JD(U) had contested elections together.
“The NDA had won 32 of the 40 seats in Bihar in 2009 even though results across the country had gone against it. This time we will do better than that,” he said.
Commenting on the decision to send Paswan, presently a Lok Sabha member from Hajipur in Bihar, to Rajya Sabha, Kumar said it is a recognition to his long service to the country and also thanked the BJP for the decision.
When specifically asked about the Ram Mandir issue later, he replied: “We are of the opinion that the Ram Mandir matter should be solved through a court decision.”
Ram Vilas Paswan, whose son Chirag had created a flutter with his comments seen as critical of the BJP and the central government, claimed that there was never a problem in the alliance as he has nurtures the ‘NDA tree’ for five years under Modi’s leadership.
“A government under Modi will be formed again,” he said. The Dalit leader also thanked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who played a role in brokering peace between his party and the BJP.
Paswan is a nine-term member of the Lok Sabha and the decision to send him to the Rajya Sabha means that the 72-year-old leader is unlikely to contest election and will be handing over the reins of the party to his son.
Bihar sends 40 MPs to the Lok Sabha. In the 2014 polls, the JD(U) had contested elections solo whereas the BJP had entered in the fray along with the LJP and RLSP. The RLSP of Upendra Kushwaha recently quit the BJP-led NDA and joined the ranks with the Grand Alliance of Congress and RJD. It is believed that RLSP’s decision gave a sense of urgency to the NDA’s seat-sharing deal in the state.