NDA devises 20-20 formula for Bihar
Patna: The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has drafted a 20-20 seat sharing plan for Bihar’s 40 constituencies that go to polls during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Bharatiya Janata Party will “sacrifice” two of its incumbent seats and contest from 20, while accommodating allies Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) on the remaining 20 seats.
As part of the arrangement, the JD-U, which has only two MPs in Lok Sabha, is likely to get 12 seats; the LJP, which has six incumbent MPs, would be accorded five; and the RLSP, which has three MPs at present, will get two, one of which will go to dissident MP Arun Kumar, sources said.
The tentative formula comes amid pressure from the NDA allies on the BJP to finalise the share of seats so they could start final preparations. But there are no official confirmations from any party so far.
“These things will be decided by our central leadership. It can happen anytime. It is not within my right to speak on this matter,” said state BJP president and MP Nityanand Rai, adding that the alliance would aim to win all 40 seats in the state.
The JD-U, which on several recent occasions has sought a “respectable” share, stressed that talks were still underway.
“For us, 12 is unacceptable and both BJP and JD-U should contest on equal number of seats,” a senior JD-U leader said on Thursday.
A source further said that it was unclear whether Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP would fight the polls as part of the NDA combine, considering the recent rebellious statements made by him. “If case he doesn’t, two more seats may go to the JD-U,” the source said.
Union Minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan said the seat division would be finalised by his party’s parliamentary board president Chirag Paswan and refused to comment on the draft arrangement.
If the draft plan is agreed to, it would mean that the NDA constituents barring JD-U would have to withdraw tickets from some sitting MPs, which may cause some of them to defect. The BJP, which had fought from 29 seats in the 2014 elections, had won 22.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar