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BJP, RLSP talks on seat sharing in Bihar make no headway

Cracks appeared in the NDA over seat sharing for the Bihar assembly polls on Wednesday as talks between union minister and BJP’s state in-charge Anant Kumar and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) leader Upendra Kushwaha ended in a deadlock. Kushwaha climbed down from his demand of 67 seats to 39 seats, one in each district. […]

Written by Appu Esthose Suresh | New Delhi |
September 10, 2015 1:41:19 am

Cracks appeared in the NDA over seat sharing for the Bihar assembly polls on Wednesday as talks between union minister and BJP’s state in-charge Anant Kumar and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) leader Upendra Kushwaha ended in a deadlock.

Kushwaha climbed down from his demand of 67 seats to 39 seats, one in each district. But BJP offered him 20 seats, saying that RLSP has three Lok Sabha seats, which translate into 18 seats as one Lok Sabha seat has six assembly segments.

Last week, Kushwaha and two of his political aides had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. Although Kushwaha tried to bring up the issue of seat sharing, the PM told them that Anant Kumar’s decision will be final.

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This forced them to meet Kumar to take the discussion forward, sources said. They said Kumar offered Kushwaha 20 seats, one Rajya Sabha seat and a Governorship. But Kushwaha was not willing to accept it.

A BJP leader said Kushwaha is apprehensive about the BJP giving him a Rajya Sabha ticket, when the ruling party is trying to augment its own strength in the upper house. Also, Kushwaha, who has been given a minister of state rank, is apprehensive about BJP trying to clip his wings. His supporters point towards the BJP rolling out the red carpet for Renu Kumari Kushwaha, former minister in Nitish Kumar’s cabinet who joined the party on August 30.

Renu, who represents Bihariganj, has a formidable support base among the Kushwahas. This, the Upendra Kushwaha camp feels, is BJP’s contingency plan in case he does not agree to the BJP proposal.

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