LJP & RLSP de­mand same no. of LS seats in Bi­har as in 2014

Millennium Post - - Nation - OUR COR­RE­SPON­DENT

PATNA: Two NDA con­stituents, the LJP and the RLSP, have made it clear that the num­ber of seats they wanted to con­test for the next Lok Sabha elec­tion was the same as that of 2014.

A spec­u­la­tion had been rife that the BJP and the JD(U) could field can­di­dates on 34 out of the to­tal 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bi­har, leav­ing the rest to Lok Jan­shakti Party (LJP) and the Rashtriya Lok Sa­mata Party (RLSP).

The BJP had won 22 seats in Bi­har in the 2014 elec­tion, while Union min­is­ter Ram Vi­las Paswan’s LJP had con­tested seven seats and won six.

His col­league Upen­dra Kush­waha’s RLSP had con­tested and won three seats.

LJP’S Bi­har unit chief Pashu­pati Paras, a state min­is­ter, dis­missed as “kite-fly­ing” the ru­mours that his party and the RLSP were likely to make ‘sac­ri­fices’ in the wake of BJP pres­i­dent Amit Shah and JD(U)

The BJP had won 22 seats in Bi­har in the 2014 elec­tion, while LJP had con­tested seven seats and won six. RLSP had con­tested and won 3 seats.

supremo and Bi­har Chief Min­is­ter Ni­tish Ku­mar agree­ing to con­test an equal num­ber of seats in the state.

“No seat-shar­ing talks will be com­plete un­til na­tional pres­i­dents of all the four NDA al­liance part­ners - BJP, JD(U), LJP and RLSP - sit to­gether. That is yet to hap­pen. All that is ap­pear­ing in the me­dia is hawa hawai (kite fly­ing)”, Paras, the younger brother of Paswan, said.

In re­ply to a query, he said, “Ob­vi­ously we would like to con­test from at least seven seats. We had won six of the seven from which we had con­tested last time, and lost one by a slen­der mar­gin of 7,000 votes.

“Our graph has not gone down since the last Lok Sabha poll and there is no rea­son why we should not get our due share.” Asked about the agree­ment Shah and Ku­mar reached, he said it in­di­cates “noth­ing”.

“The 50-50 for­mula could mean any­thing. It could even im­ply that the BJP and the JD(U) would be fight­ing only 10 each, leav­ing the re­main­ing 20 for other al­lies,” he added.

The RLSP in­sisted that it would not ac­cept a share of less than three seats.

Mad­haw Anand, the party’s na­tional gen­eral sec­re­tary and spokesman said, “There is no ques­tion of our agree­ing to less than three seats. In fact, Kush­waha has con­veyed the same to the BJP na­tional sec­re­tary gen­eral in-charge of Bi­har, Bhu­pen­dra Ya­dav, in per­son and to Shah over tele­phone”.

Kush­waha had met RJD leader Te­jashwi Ya­dav at a Bi­har town, min­utes af­ter Shah and Ku­mar an­nounced in Delhi that they have reached a seat-shar­ing ar­range­ment, fu­elling spec­u­la­tion of a po­lit­i­cal re­align­ment in the state.

The RLSP chief, who is known to have been shar­ing an uneasy re­la­tion­ship with Ku­mar, has main­tained that he is firmly with the NDA even as Te­jashwi Ya­dav said there was a stand­ing in­vi­ta­tion to the party to join the Grand Al­liance.

Re­la­tions be­tween Kush­waha and Ku­mar soured re­cently af­ter the chief min­is­ter re­marked that speak­ing about the dis­pute over seat-shar­ing with the RLSP was tan­ta­mount to low­er­ing the stan­dard of dis­course.

Kush­waha has taken af­front to the re­mark, claim­ing that Ku­mar, who is his erst­while men­tor, had in ef­fect called him a lowly per­son and had taunted him for hav­ing joined hands with the BJP again, af­ter tak­ing um­brage over Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s caus­tic re­mark about his po­lit­i­cal DNA dur­ing the 2015 assem­bly elec­tion.

Ram Vi­las Paswan

Upen­dra Kush­waha

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