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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Bihar elections: After hard bargain, BJP, JD(U) may contest equal number of seats

The seat-sharing formula within the NDA has almost been finalised and the JD(U) and the BJP are now holding internal deliberations to choose their candidates.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna | October 5, 2020 1:19:33 am
Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi. (File)

The ruling JD(U) and BJP may contest 119 seats each in the upcoming Bihar elections while setting aside five seats for their ally Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) led by former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, according to sources.

Manjhi is reportedly asking for a few more seats.

Meanwhile, international shooter and daughter of former Union minister Digvijay Singh, Shreyasi Singh, joined the BJP with her mother and former Banka MP Putul Singh, in Delhi. Shreyasi is likely to contest from Jamui. Putul Singh, who was in the BJP, had contested unsuccessfully as an Independent in the last Lok Sabha election from Banka.

The seat-sharing formula within the NDA has almost been finalised and the JD(U) and the BJP are now holding internal deliberations to choose their candidates.

The BJP’s central election committee met Sunday to finalise the party’s candidates. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president J P Nadda and other top party leaders attended the meeting. JD(U) leaders met in Patna late on Sunday evening.

The JD (U) and BJP were engaged in hard bargaining over seats with the former trying its best to remain the senior partner in the alliance. The JD(U), it is learnt, was pushing for the 2010 Assembly election formula when it contested 141 seats and the BJP contested 102 seats. The BJP, however, cited the 2019 Lok Sabha formula of contesting on an equal number of seats, it is learnt.

According to sources, the JD (U) could not bargain on eight seats of its choice from the BJP to accommodate five sitting MLAs who had joined JD(U) after quitting RJD. BJP is learnt to have denied the request and decided not to swap any sitting seat.

A BJP source said, “While BJP was represented by outgoing deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, Bihar BJP in-charges Bhupendra Yadav and Devendra Fadnavis and BJP state president Dr Sanjay Jaiswal, JD (U) was represented by MPs Rajiv Ranjan Singh and RCP Singh, Speaker Vijay Choudhary and minister Bijendra Yadav.”

Senior BJP leader and Union minister Nityanand Rai is also learnt to have played a key role.

A JD (U) leader said there were “tense moments” but the seat- sharing issue was “resolved amicably”.

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