Following hectic parleys within the NDA over the seat-sharing formula for the upcoming Bihar elections, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday said the JD(U) would contest on 122 seats and BJP on 121 in the 243-member assembly. In the 2010 Assembly elections, the JD(U) and BJP had contested on 141 and 102 seats, respectively.
“JD(U) has been allotted 122 seats. Under that quota, we are giving 7 seats to HAM. BJP has 121 seats and will accommodate Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP), the new entrant in the NDA,” Kumar said at a press conference.
However, the press conference took place amid much drama. Nitish Kumar reportedly came to the presser after BJP first issued a statement saying its alliance with Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) in Bihar was “unbreakable”.
This comes a day after LJP, which announced its exit from the alliance for the state polls, claimed that the next Bihar government would be a “BJP-LJP government”. “There is no doubt that Nitish Kumar is our leader in Bihar. LJP is our ally at Centre,” state BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal said at a media centre set up by the party at a city hotel before the press conference.
Nitish Kumar also harped on the fact that Ram Vilas Paswan became a Rajya Sabha MP due to JD(U)’s help. “Ram Vilas Paswan is unwell. We want him to recover. Did he reach Rajya Sabha without JDU’s help? How many seats do they have in Bihar Vidhan Sabha? Two. So, BJP-JD(U) gave him ticket to RS,” the Bihar CM said.
Without naming Chirag Paswan, Nitish took a dig at the LJP chief, saying, “I believe in doing my job. If some people derive pleasure out of saying something inconsequential, they are most welcome to do so. It does not bother me”.
Responding to a query about post-poll scenario, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, said, “We have said unequivocally that Nitish Kumar will be our Chief Minister. It does not matter which party gets how many seats in the elections”.
On Sunday, LJP chief Chirag Paswan cited “ideological differences with JD(U)” to announce its exit from the alliance for the state polls while reiterating that it would continue with the NDA at the Centre. The party said it would field candidates against the JD(U) but not the BJP for the state polls.
The move came after its relationship with the JD(U) nosedived over the last few months, with the party taking potshots at the Bihar government over its handling of Covid and the migrant crisis that followed the lockdown.
The Grand Alliance had already announced their seat-sharing formula last week, with RJD contesting on 144 seats and Congress on 70. The three Left parties will fight from 29 constituencies: CPI(ML) from 19 seats, and the CPI and CPI(M) six and four seats, respectively.
Meanwhile, the BJP on Tuesday also released its first list of 27 candidates for the upcoming Bihar assembly polls, starting from October 28.
— Liz Mathew (@MathewLiz) October 6, 2020
All the candidates are for the election’s first phase in which 71 seats of the 243-member assembly will go to polls.
Bihar will go to polls in three phases — October 28, November 3 and November 7. Results will be declared on November 10.
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