BJP president Amit Shah on Friday announced that his party and the Janata Dal United (JDU) will fight on the equal number of seats for the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 in Bihar. Shah's annoucement came after his meeting with chief minister Nitish Kumar on Friday.
"Other allies will also get a respectable seat share. The numbers will be announced in a few days," Shah told reporters.
"Upendra Kushwaha and Ram Vilas Paswan will remain with us. When a new ally has joined us, there will be a reduction in seat share for everyone," Shah said, adding: “When a new partner joins, you have to sacrifice... There will be reduction in seats for everyone.”
According to reports, the agreement was reached in September. The two National Democratic Alliance (NDA) parties has been waiting for a nod from other smaller partners, including Ram Vilas Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP).
The announcement followed a meeting Kumar had with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the latter's residence earlier in the day. It marks a climbdown by the Bharatiya Janata Party, which had contested 30 of the state's 40 seats in the 2014 general elections and won 22, while its two other then allies, the LJP and the RLSP, had won six and two seats respectively out of seven and three they had fought.
According to sources, the BJP and the JD(U) may contest 16 seats each, with six and two to be left for parties led by Paswan and Kushwaha respectively. Shah made it clear that the number of seats of all NDA parties in Bihar will come down to accommodate the Janata Dal (United), which had joined the alliance last year after severing ties with the Congress and the Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal. The JD(U) had fought the 2014 Lok Sabha elections alone.
Nitish Kumar said talks with two other allies are in the last stage and an announcement about the exact number of seats will be made soon. The JD(U) had won only two seats in 2014, and the BJP's decision to cede many of its winning seats to give it an equal weightage underscores Kumar's indispensability to it against the RJD-led opposition.
Shah said Kumar, Paswan and BJP leader and Bihar's Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi will lead the alliance's campaign in the state.