Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Friday sat down with senior leaders of the party from Bihar to iron out differences with ally Janata Dal (United), or JD (U), on which seats the two parties will contest in the April-May parliamentary elections, two leaders privy to the talks told.
The BJP and the JD(U), led by of chief minister Nitish Kumar, announced in December that they will contest 17 seats each in Bihar and leave the remaining six for the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) of Ram Vilas Paswan.
“We are almost close to identifying the seats that each party will contest. There are some issues that need to be sorted out. We are working on it. An announcement is expected in the next couple of days,” one of the two BJP leaders quoted above told on condition of anonymity.
The leader said there are some seats that all three constituents of the NDA in Bihar want to contest and there has been no agreement so far. Both the BJP and JD(U) have staked claim to Khagaria, a seat presently held by the LJP. “The LJP is not ready to leave its claim on this seat,” the first leader said.
The LJP wants Nawada, a seat currently held by junior minister Giriraj Singh. The Bihar strongman wants to contest Nawada, but a decision has to be taken to move him to Begusarai, a seat held by late BJP MP Bhola Singh.
“Out of four Lok Sabha seats of Mithilanchal, the JD(U) has staked a claim on three. It’s a BJP bastion and we want to contest at least two,” the second leader told.
Darbhanga, Madhubani, Jhanjharpur, and Supaul are the four seats in the region. The Congress won Supaul and the BJP the remaining three in the last parliamentary elections.
“The JD(U) won just 2 seats in 2014, and yet we have 17 seats to them. Now it wants to contest most of the ‘winnable seats’ and leave those for the BJP where it finds the social equation working against it,” the second leader said.
The BJP’s central election committee is meeting in New Delhi on Saturday to release its first list of candidates, but a decision on Bihar is unlikely.