After days of marathon meetings and thousands of kilometres of air-trips between Patna and Delhi and back, the JDU (Janata Dal United) and BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) leaders of Bihar made an announcement about the seat-sharing arrangements for the upcoming Bihar Assembly election.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi of the BJP and saffron party’s state unit chief Sanjay Jaiswal tried to present before the media that the two parties have agreed almost on 50:50 formula, that is the JDU would contest on 122 seats and the BJP on 121.
It was disclosed that while the JDU would leave seven seats from its own quota for former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha, talks are going on between the BJP and Mukesh Sahni’s Vikassheel Insan Party. The former is likely to make some adjustment for the latter from its own quota.
Though the leaders tried to put on brave– but masked–faces, tension writ large in the air as the agreement could be reached just two days before the end of the filing of nominations for the first phase of poll, which is scheduled on Oct 28. Besides, the loss of LJP, and the manner in which the whole thing has developed, has certainly left no room for satisfaction.
Yet the talks may have brought some sigh of relief in the NDA camp. However, the rank and file of the Hindustani Awam Morcha and VIP are certainly upset as the Grand Alliance were offering them more than they actually got after so much hard bargaining.
Nitish took pain to explain his relationship with the LJP and referred to the election of Ram Vilas Paswan to the Rajya Sabha. “The LJP has only two seats in the state Assembly. After all how has he got elected,” the chief minister asked. The LJP episode haunted the BJP leaders too. Sanjay Jaiswal reiterated that had Ram Vilas Paswan not been ill the situation would have been different, not realising that in 2014 it was his son Chirag who virtually forced his father to join the NDA and abandon UPA.
Sushil Modi had something else to explain. He said that only the four parties of the NDA–including the latest entrants HAM and VIP–can use the photos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the posters. Otherwise the Election Commission is free to take any decision