Ahead of Bihar elections, LJP drives hard bargain

Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP), which has been driving a hard bargain for seats ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in Bihar, at its Central Parliamentary board meeting on Wednesday decided on a list of 143 candidates.

The decision is an endorsement of the state parliamentary board meeting, which took place in early September.

While the party has been pitching for a larger portion of the seat-sharing pie; a person aware of the details said LJP president Chirag Paswan also suggested that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should contest on more seats than the rest of the allies for the 243-member assembly.

The elections are slated to be held on schedule in October-November, despite the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.

Though the LJP is part of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre, along with the BJP and the Janata Dal (United), it has been targeting Bihar chief minister and JD (U) president Nitish Kumar.

Party leaders did not comment on the contradiction such as to prepare a list of 143 candidates amid Paswan’s suggestion that the BJP should be allocated the maximum number of seats in the upcoming assembly polls.

Paswan, who has spoken vociferously against CM Kumar and accused him of failing to keep his promises, met BJP president JP Nadda on Wednesday to thrash out issues ahead of the formal seat- sharing talks that are expected to take place next week.

Nadda along with party’s national general secretary Bhupender Yadav is likely to take up the issue with Kumar in Patna.

However, BJP leaders asserted that the NDA would contest the polls jointly and the prickly seat-sharing issue would be arrived at after a “mutual agreement”.

A party leader said there was all kinds of speculation about seat-sharing ahead of last year’s Lok Sabha elections as well, but the final decision was taken “jointly” by the leadership of the three parties.

In the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP and the JD(U) had contested 17 seats each and the LJP was given six.

The LJP has suggested that the assembly seats should be given based on the performance in the Lok Sabha elections. “The party has suggested that seats should be based on the number of seats that were contested or won during the Lok Sabha elections multiplied by six,” said a LJP functionary.

However, the person did not elaborate on why the party has suggested the formula if it intends to prepare a list of 143 candidates for the upcoming assembly polls.


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