While the rival Grand Alliance on Friday successfully finalised the seat-sharing arrangement for Bihar Assembly election there is still no sign of early end of deadlock in the ruling NDA (National Democratic Alliance). Senior BJP leaders Devendra Fadnavis and Bhupendra Yadav flew to Delhi after holding day-long meeting with top state BJP leaders at an undisclosed place on Friday.
Incidentally, Fadnavis and Yadav could not meet chief minister and Janata Dal United president Nitish Kumar during their two day long stay in Patna. This has given enough indication that everything is not hunky-dory in the NDA. Thus the scene has shifted to the national capital where the two are expected to meet Union home minister Amit Shah and party chief J P Nadda. The deadlock is not just over the number of seats the NDA constituents would contest but also over the choice of seats.
On the other hand the Lok Janshakti Party, the third constituent of the ruling combination in Bihar may take the final decision in this regard on Oct 3 after the parliamentary board meeting. Till now the LJP is insisting that it would put up candidates in 143 seats.
On Oct 1 the party’s national president Chirag Paswan held talks with the Union home minister Amit Shah and the BJP president J P Nadda. However, so far nothing concrete has come out. As if that was not enough the Bihar unit president of the BJP Sanjay Jaiswal has sparked off a row by holding Chirag responsible for the stalemate. Jaiswal said that the talks with the LJP could not be finalised because of the illness of the Union minister and LJP patriarch Ram Vilas Paswan, thus implying that his party does not trust Chirag.
Whatever may be Jaiswal’s Oct 2 statement Ram Vilas has himself said that all talks on the seat-sharing arrangement would be conducted by Chirag. Bihar BJP and Janata Dal United leaders are not much inclined towards the LJP. But this is not the only issue. The two main partners, the BJP and Janata Dal United are yet to sort out the seat distribution problem. Unlike the Grand Alliance the matter is too complicated in the NDA as the BJP and JDU had in 2015 contested the Assembly election as rivals.
As the Grand Alliance constituent the Janata Dal United has contested election in 101 seats. In 51 of them the BJP and JDU candidates were face to face. The Janata Dal United had won in 28 and the BJP on 23 seats. Now that both are in the same camp it has really become difficult to sort out the matter.
Not only that at least seven RJD MLAs have recently joined the Janata Dal United. Besides, the party has decided to accommodate about a dozen candidates of Hindustani Awam Morcha. Apart from this, the Janata Dal United has put up a new demand. The party has urged the BJP to leave some of the traditional saffron party seats for the Janata Dal United.
Sources close to the BJP say that this is virtually unacceptable as the saffron party has a long list of workers and cadres who have been working in these constituencies and are even representing them. This is the scenario in the NDA when the nomination for the first phase of Assembly election on Oct 28 has started. Analysts are of the view that if this situation continues for some more days the NDA may have to pay a heavy price.