Bhartiya Janta Party president J P Nadda met Bihar chief minister and Janta Dal United president Nitish Kumar at his residence on Saturday. J P Nadda is on a two day visit to the state to oversee the preparation of the party in view of the coming Assembly election.
The BJP president was accompanied by former Maharashtra chief minister and BJP in-charge for Bihar election, Devendra Fadnavis, national general secretary of the party Bhupendra Yadav, deputy chief minister Sushil Modi and state party president Sanjay Jaiswal; while senior JDU leader Lallan Singh was also present on the occasion. According to sources, the primary agenda of the discussion was distribution of the seats among the NDA allies as well as the muscle-flexing of the Lok Janshakti Party. After the meeting between the top leaders of the two parties for almost an hour, Nadda and Nitish privately held talks for a couple of minutes.
Media reports suggest that BJP has presented a formula to the JDU for deliberation. The seat sharing could be a tricky issue for the NDA since JDU is quite sensitive towards its big brother role in the state alliance; hence, the party would like to fight a few more seats than BJP. It has already prevailed over the BJP to declare that the NDA will fight the election under the leadership of Nitish Kumar. Now, it will fight tooth and nail to assert itself in the seat sharing arrangements.
On the other hand, BJP, which had fought on 157 seats in 2015, would have to sacrifice a lot of seats to accommodate JDU, since it was part of the Grand Alliance in 2015. The other NDA allay LJP, which had put up 42 seats in the last election, has made it clear on several occasions that it will not accept less than 40 seats.
Off late, the LJP has been targeting chief minister Nitish Kumar for failures of the state government on multiple fronts. In a recent party meeting, the LJP has announced that it will put up candidates on 140 Assembly seats including on the seats which will fall in the JDU quota.
Political analysts are of the view that the LJP is muscle flexing for increasing its bargaining position within NDA and not to leave the bandwagon as it is speculated in few quarters.